Program in Marin offers assistants to businesses, commercial real estate
By Amy Bolten
Sonoma Clean Power is a community choice aggregation program being developed by the Sonoma County Water Agency to purchase electricity for Sonoma County customers. In order to help the North Bay Business Journal readers understand the various aspects of Sonoma Clean Power, the Journal is partnering with the Sonoma County Water Agency to publish a series of articles discussing the various aspects of this effort. This article discusses the plans and benefits of local investment through energy efficiency programs.
One of the benefits of an electricity purchasing program which is non-profit and publicly-owned, is that revenues can be retained and available for reinvestment on behalf of the public.
Sonoma Clean Power intends to offer a number of incentive programs to do just this. One investment vehicle will be the expansion of energy efficiency programs for homes and businesses. There are currently a number of energy efficiency programs offered in Sonoma County by PG&E and these programs will continue to be available for all Sonoma County residents and businesses. Sonoma Clean Power will build upon these existing programs to offer an expanded service to customers.
As an example of what these benefits could look like, MCE (Marin County’s version of Sonoma Clean Power) provides a wrap-around service to actively facilitate deep energy efficiency retrofits for apartment buildings, restaurants and commercial facilities. For residential customers, they have implemented a robust education and awareness campaign.
To address the common issue of cash flow to implement these measures, MCE has implemented an on-bill financing program which allows their customers to pay for energy efficiency retrofit work through their power bill.
The intent for Sonoma Clean Power is to have a suite of similar energy efficiency programs ready to implement shortly after program launch. Aside from providing an immediate benefit to Sonoma County residents and businesses, these investments in energy efficiency programs will provide a source of local job creation. Energy efficiency retrofit work is well documented as a means to provide significant and intensely local employment. Combining this overall community economic benefit with the ability to upgrade facilities and decrease power demand squarely aligns with Sonoma Clean Power’s goals.
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