With a ceremonial flourish Thursday, officials with Sonoma Clean Power marked the launch of a new public venture in the retail electricity market, touting what they have said will be a greener and competitively priced — if not cheaper — alternative to the region’s dominant utility, PG&E.
Officials guiding the rollout of Sonoma County’s public power agency on Tuesday kicked off an extended discussion about how the agency adds local power sources and folds in other programs and projects central to its mission of being a greener, competitively priced alternative to PG&E.
With five newly seated city representatives, an expanded board of directors for Sonoma County’s startup public power agency got to work Thursday, reviewing a preliminary first-year budget and a timeline geared toward a power purchase deal, plus various staffing and financial decisions looming over the next four months.
Board members overseeing Sonoma County’s startup public power agency unanimously approved a revised governing agreement Thursday, satisfying Santa Rosa’s core concerns and paving the way for the county’s largest city to officially join the venture Tuesday.
A last-ditch effort to assuage Santa Rosa’s concerns about the structure of the Sonoma Clean Power Authority succeeded Tuesday, convincing the city to join the launch of the fledgling public power agency.
Electricity from Sonoma County’s fledgling public power agency can be cheap or green, and there may be conflict over the choice, Sebastopol Mayor Michael Kyes said.
‘Green costs more,’ said Kyes, who will be seated later this month on the governing board of Sonoma Clean Power, the local agency that aims to displace PG&E as the area’s leading energy provider.
But Geof Syphers, interim CEO of Sonoma Clean Power, said the agency aims to deliver power that is both cleaner and cheaper than PG&E.
A tussle for control over the future of Sonoma Clean Power dominated the agency’s first public meeting Tuesday, with county officials rejecting for now a request by smaller cities for more say over how the agency is governed.
Sonoma County officials made their first pitch for a public power agency on Tuesday night to the Sebastopol City Council, with seven more stops to go in a campaign to enroll eight cities in a plan to supplant PG&E as their sole source of electricity.
Sebastopol burnished its liberal credentials Tuesday by becoming the second city in California to require solar power systems on new homes and commercial buildings.