Sonoma Advances, San Francisco Ponders Choice

By Published On: October 17, 2013

Sonoma County’s plan to offer residents alternative energy supplies is moving ahead while San Francisco is considered building several local renewable projects apart from its community aggregation plan shot down last August. Earlier this month, the California Public Utilities Commission gave Sonoma Clean Power the green light to proceed. CPUC Energy Division director Ed Randolph Oct. 4 certified as complete Sonoma’s community choice aggregation plan. "We are very excited to receive early approval of our Implementation Plan from the CPUC, and are moving forward with contracting for power in November,” Geof Syphers, Sonoma Clean Power chief operating officer, said Oct. 15. Sonoma Clean Power delayed its launch date to May 2014. But, it doubled the number of customers to be served, from 10,000 to 20,000 in the initial phase. The county renewable program is to include businesses and residences in the unincorporated communities of Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Cotati, Windsor, and Sebastopol. Meanwhile, San Francisco is looking at options for building out alternative energy projects to realize its local renewable energy dream. Last August, ongoing concerns about power costs and protests from organized labor over San Francisco competing head on with PG&E on generation stopped CleanPower San Francisco in its tracks. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission voted 3-2 against a rate plan for the largely renewable power program, which would have capped rates for about half of San Franciscans at $11.5 cents/kWh. That price was higher than competitor PG&E’s standard rates. At the San Francisco Local Agency Formation Committee meeting earlier this month, joining Sonoma or Marin’s clean energy programs was discussed although CleanPowerSF lacks life without an approved rate plan. That is not stopping the SF agency from exploring ways to fund local renewable energy projects, in particular solar and small hydropower, said SFPUC spokesperson Charles Sheehan. Its efforts got a boost from a report released last week finding that San Francisco cut its energy use in municipal buildings. The overall energy use of 466 benchmarked buildings, from city departments to schools, declined 3.6 percent from 2011 and 4.4 percent compared to 2009, according to the Second Annual Energy Benchmarking Report. “Our City departments are leading by example by monitoring energy usage so we can reduce energy consumption even further in all of our buildings,” stated Mayor Ed Lee.   Non-residential buildings represent 31 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, said Melanie Nutter, director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment.

Share this story

Not a member yet?

Subscribe Now