$1 Million RESCO Grant Approved for Energy Independence Projects


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    April 28, 2009: (Santa Rosa, CA) The Sonoma County Water Agency was recently notified of approval from the California Energy Commission for a $1 million RESCO (Renewable Energy Secure Communities) grant to develop and demonstrate integration of on-site renewable energy production using geothermal heat pump technology and treated wastewater, solar voltaic, wind energy combined with on-site storage alternatives, lighting and HVAC building retrofits and electric vehicle charging stations. The funds will also support renewable energy work by Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Climate Protection Campaign, the Sonoma County Transportation Authority and Local Power Inc. – all partners who helped secure the grant funding.

    Fifty-four applications were submitted of which only 13 were selected for funding. The proposal development and implementation reflects Sonoma County’s regional partnership approach to energy and climate.

    “Our staff and partners worked tirelessly to secure this funding for our community,” said Paul Kelley, chairman of the SCWA board of directors and Sonoma County board of supervisors. “The energy independence projects funded by this grant will help us achieve our goal of providing carbon free water by 2015 and reduce our countywide carbon footprint.”

    The Public Interest Energy Research Program, administered by the California Energy Commission, funds selected public interest energy research, development and demonstration efforts that advance energy science and technology in California. One PIER competitive grant program sponsored by the CEC is the RESCO grant. The emphasis of RESCO is on economic and environmental integration of solutions that enable multiple individual renewable energy conversion technologies to serve a community's energy needs more cost effectively than would be possible using a single technology.

    SCWA’s RESCO application will prepare Sonoma County to advance towards financing and construction of a locally owned, cost-effective, integrated renewable portfolio. This entails detailed data analysis for designing the prototype portfolio, the development of an integrated renewable pilot micro-grid project, a system dynamics analysis of related greenhouse gas reductions, an exploration of the financial mechanisms required, and a governance structure for managing the public works project envisioned. The models and methodologies developed and refined through the project will be replicable in other communities.

    “Receiving this award from the California Energy Commission advances Sonoma County towards our greenhouse gas reduction goal while helping our local economy. This recent example of Sonoma County leadership will inspire and spur other communities and help bring us closer to meeting our global challenge,” said Ann Hancock, executive director, Climate Protection Campaign.

    The RESCO funding will be used to jump start a geothermal heat pump pilot project at the Airport-Larkfield-Wikiup Sanitation Zone. The pilot project will deploy geothermal heat pump technology using tertiary treated wastewater as a "heat sink" powered by existing solar photovoltaic cells, develop onsite renewable energy production (wind and dairy biogas), and onsite energy storage (charging stations for electric vehicles powered by solar PV and wind), and maximize energy efficiency through building retrofits and conservation measures. The project will employ cost-effective integrated renewable energy resources to provide a proof of concept for how to identify neighborhoods, business parks or other sites that can benefit from dedicated energy supply resources. The project will require three years, and will be completed in July 2012. SCWA requested a PIER grant of $1 million towards a total project budget of $2 million. Match funding is required from each grant partner.

    Receiving the RESCO funding is just one example of how a countywide effort of local government and non-profits is under way to address climate change in Sonoma County. The County of Sonoma, all nine cities in the county, the Sonoma County Water Agency, the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, the Sonoma County Transportation Authority, the Climate Protection Campaign and Solar Sonoma are all working together to move toward countywide coordination of climate protection programs that will expand the environmental and economic benefits from lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduction of energy consumption in Sonoma County.

    Sonoma County Water Agency provides water supply, flood protection and sanitation services for portions of Sonoma and Marin counties. Visit us on the Web at www.sonomacountywater.org.

    Brad Sherwood 707.547.1927
    Cell Phone: 707.322.8192


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