Climate Action and Resiliency

Make Sonoma County carbon neutral by 2030.

Goal 2, Objective 1

Support carbon-eliminating microgrid technology in communities and energy grid resilience to reduce the impact of power loss during power shutdowns and natural disasters (floods, fires, earthquakes) through education and legislative advocacy, prioritizing critical infrastructure and vulnerable populations.

On Track

Updated: January 2023

Summary of Objective Implementation Status

Our approach to implementation will help achieve the pillar goal by increasing community resiliency against disasters and public safety power shutoff (PSPS) events.  As a matter of supporting the community in this effort, there may be legislative efforts to support or sponsor legislation and/or comments in regulatory rulemaking or hearings. This would entail identifying legislative asks, drafting legislative language to present to our legislators, and monitoring the legislative process.

Key Milestone Update

Two working groups

1. Local Government Sustainable Energy Coalition (LGSEC), which provides input to the rulemaking process regarding microgrids.  Energy and sustainability participated in the LGSEC group and virtually attended four meetings.

2.  Staff participated in portions of the PG&E working group that was created to offer a Community MG Program that offers incentives/rebates. PG&E’s Community Microgrid Enablement Program (CMEP) was launched. They offer technical support and cost offsets for certain distribution system upgrades, CMEP can assist communities who meet  qualification criteria.

3.  Some measurement options for the legislative piece might be: successful passage of legislation, or State and Federal funding to support local MG.

4.  Data important to collect from a logistical standpoint: A clear understanding of where microgrids can be placed through utility maps, distribution and transmission lines.

Coordination and Partnership Update

Through partnership with the County’s Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) utility, Sonoma Clean Power, the County continues to support efforts to increase local resilience with Public Safety Power Shutoffs through backup power, microgrids, and Community Choice programs.

The County supports this effort in their Legislative Platform document.  Under State items, S48: Community Choice Aggregation, the County lists several actions, including continued support of community microgrids.

Community, Equity, and Climate Update

Given that regulations and legislation will be needed to ease restrictions for installing these types of systems throughout communities, it is uncertain how feasible they will be to implement.  We will engage the public as needed and provide support for the community through legislative and regulatory efforts.

The criteria considered will prioritize community microgrids in vulnerable, low-income, hard-to-reach communities that are likely to be affected by factors disrupting the electric grid in their area. An influencing factor will be the electric grid structure, placement of lines, distribution points, etc.

Funding Narrative

Funding is available for staff efforts related to legislative or rulemaking support.  The County will consider any  grant opportunities arise that require local government support or partnership related to community microgrids, however, funding may be needed for staff time to take on the effort of submitting grant opportunities.  Energy and Sustainability may have access to funding for researching or writing grant opportunities through the Climate Action and Resiliency Division.