Humboldt’s Energy Independence Plan

By Published On: November 15, 2013

Humboldt County is striving for energy independence by 2030. There is “strong interest” in offering a public upfront financing program for clean energy building retrofits and community choice aggregation, said Matthew Marshall, Redwood Coast Energy Authority executive director. The county released a 2030 energy independence plan, Repower Humboldt, earlier this year that seeks to increase energy efficiency and the amount of biomass, wind, wave, solar and hydropower. Its current load is 170 MW, with 70 from the grid. The future energy portfolio would include 55 percent biomass. Offshore and onshore wind energy would provide 6 percent of the energy supply, hydro 4 percent, wave energy 2 percent, with 0.1 percent from photovoltaics. Natural gas use would drop form 33 percent to 10 percent. There is a significant amount of forest fuel in the county. At issue is how to make the removal and transportation of the dead wood cost-effective so it can be turned into energy-producing biomass. Options include building smaller projects closer to the fuel source and/or turning the wood into charcoal, which is lighter and more energy intensive, said Marshall. Humboldt State University received grant funding to investigate the former option. Aside from power, the plan covers transportation fuels and other forms of energy use.

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