Sonoma County RESCO
Welcome to the home page for the Sonoma County, California, RESCO project. RESCO stands for Renewable Energy Secure Communities, a program funded by the California Energy Commission. Sonoma County began its three-year RESCO project in August, 2009. This website will provide information about Sonoma County RESCO efforts related to renewable energy, distributed generation, and CO2 emissions reduction.
The purpose of this project is to develop and demonstrate a model for a locally owned, cost-effective renewable energy (RE) portfolio that helps us meet our greenhouse gas reduction goals. We are focusing on the integration of mature renewable energy resources and efficiency measures together with demand response to prepare Sonoma County to advance to the implementation stage of this RE portfolio.
We are working on several efforts in parallel:
- Designing a renewable energy portfolio for the County that identifies opportunities for distributed generation and demand reduction
- Developing a system dynamics model of energy use and CO2 emissions across several County sectors
- Designing and building a pilot project to showcase several renewable energy technologies to offset local demand
- Designing County governance structures and financing instruments to implement the plan.
Outcomes of the project include
- Proposed suite of projects that produces the lowest cost green energy for the County
- Proposal for a governance and financing structure to implement the system as a major public work project
- Computer model that describes greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts, costs, and jobs created
- Pilot project demonstrating RESCO principles: integrated, distributed, community-scale.
How does it work?
A typical utility energy planning process might include
- measuring the peak load and projecting its future growth
- building power plants to meet that peak load
- managing generation by base load and peaker plants, and
- adding a few renewables to meet renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requirements.
In contrast, the RESCO energy planning process
- begins by lowering peaks with energy efficiency and demand-response technology
- uses multiple sources of energy, including load shedding
- prefers local, community-scale, and integrated energy generation
- utilizes heat districts to maximize efficiency of resources
- maximizes local renewable generation potential.
In addition to producing a more secure energy system for the County, this approach will reduce CO2 emissions and help us achieve our emissions reduction goals.
Sonoma County has made groundbreaking progress at the local level towards achieving the renewable energy secure communities (RESCO) vision. In 2005, all nine cities and the County adopted the boldest community greenhouse gas reduction target in the nation -- 25% below 1990 levels by 2015. A recently released Community Climate Action Plan, produced by the Climate Protection Campaign, provides a blueprint for achieving this target.
The Sonoma County RESCO project builds from the Sonoma County Community Climate Action Plan to develop a more detailed understanding of potential ways to implement it.