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Sonoma County’s Green Technology Bodes Well Energy Use

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Sonoma County is doing its best to move California back into a position of green technology leadership. While the state has always been enthusiastic about green technology, it has also hit economic and infrastructure problems that have thrown a wrench–or several wrenches–in renewable energy projects.

Efren Carillo, Sonoma County Supervisor, attended a Thought Leaders meeting hosted by the California Public Utilities Commission on March 8. “Revitalizing the Clean Energy Economy” brought together several industry experts to share ideas on how to help California meet its ambitious green technology goal of reducing emissions by 30 percent by the year 2020.

Carillo showed that in some ways, Sonoma County is running ahead of schedule when it comes to green technology. This is in large part due to the Sonoma County Water Agency, which is the second largest user of energy in the county. Energy for the SCWA is being sourced with hydro power from Sonoma County’s Warm Springs Dam, landfill gas and 2 MW (megawatts) of solar. Thanks to this, they expect to reach their “Carbon Free Water by 2015″ initiative this year.

Expanding the renewable energy success to the entire county could prove difficult, but Carillo believes it’s certainly not impossible. To fuel farms that support over 2 million chickens requires 1.4 MW of electricity and 1.26 cu/ft of biogas a day. A renewable energy project to provide for this is scheduled for fall of 2012. They’re also looking to run Sonoma County Airport with solar power, and gauging how much green technology could be collected by a proposed wind and solar energy park.

To finance all this green technology, Carillo is working with Dr. John Byrne, a Nobel laureate, to learn from Delaware States Sustainable Energy Utility program.

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