Cleaner power and competitive rates. Those twin goals have driven the development of Sonoma County’s startup public power agency since it was proposed years ago by local climate activists and business interests. Now supporters of the venture say they will deliver on both counts, after officials overseeing Sonoma Clean Power on Thursday formally approved retail rates that will beat those set for PG&E for power generation this year.
Starting this week, half the governing board overseeing the launch of Sonoma County’s public power agency will consist of elected officials based in Santa Rosa.
The shakeup, driven by moves to fill Sonoma Clean Power’s expanded eight-person board, will retain two Santa Rosa-based county supervisors — Shirlee Zane and Susan Gorin — and add two Santa Rosa city council members.
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.
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 are set to debut a fledgling public power agency next week by taking on several key decisions in the first open meeting of the Sonoma Clean Power Authority.
Third District Supervisor Shirlee Zane aimed high at the Rohnert Park City Council on Tuesday, as the political campaign to convince cities to join the county’s public power agency continued.
Sonoma County officials have announced a schedule of presentations to local city councils over the next two months on the county’s plans for a public power agency.