Carbon Free Water by 2015
The Sonoma County Water Agency has a duty to secure water for future generations of Sonoma County residents. The potential impacts of climate change will make it more difficult to meet that mission. The more the Water Agency can do to mitigate the impact of the climate change, the more secure the source of water will be for the future.
Being the largest energy user in Sonoma County, in 2006, the Water Agency committed to the goal of operating a carbon free water system by 2015. To achieve this goal, the Water Agency is actively working to diversify its energy portfolio and reduce its energy and fuel needs through efficiency and renewable energy production. Through this effort, the Water Agency is helping to pioneer new technologies that have been carefully evaluated for economic viability.
Energy Policy and Community Choice Aggregation
On March 22, 2011, the Sonoma County Water Agency Board of Directors directed the Water Agency to investigate Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) while concurrently approving the Water Agency’s Energy Policy. Community Choice Aggregation allows one or more cities and/or counties to form a service area that provides for the purchase of power generation of customers within that service area. Transmission, distribution, customer service and billing remain the same, delivered through the existing utility (PG&E). Customers within this service area can opt out of participating in the CCA program and continue to receive their power generation services through the existing utility.
Funding for Projects
The Water Agency aggressively researches and pursues federal and state grants to fund a majority of its energy and sustainability projects. In the past, grants have come from U.S. Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission. The Water Agency also reviews other opportunities to support its projects like developing partnerships with research and academic entities to acquire funding for needed feasibility studies or by building partnerships with private entities to bring about more public participation in the local communities. The Water Agency has a dedicated staff member whose main focus is finding grants for not only energy and sustainability projects but for all of the Water Agency’s projects and operations.
Contacting the Energy & Sustainability Team
If you have any questions or would like additional information about the Carbon Free Water by 2015 Program, please email Amy Bolten, Public Information Officer, at Amy.Bolten@scwa.ca.gov or call 707-547-1981. You may also click here to submit a comment form.