Impact Sonoma: Cordel Stillman, Sonoma County Water Agency

Plans to develop a "community choice aggregation" power agency in Sonoma County have advanced over the past few months, with outreach to the region's residents and municipal governments laying the groundwork for a joint powers authority to govern the so-called "Sonoma Clean Power."

Tasked by its board of directors to develop the proposal, the Sonoma County Water Agency began work in 2011 to hone the finer details of a renewable energy-focused power agency in the county. Cordel Stillman, deputy chief engineer at the Sonoma County Water Agency, heads the effort.

Q: Firstly, please describe the current status of the Sonoma County Water Agency’s efforts concerning Sonoma Clean Power.

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A: The feasibility study was completed in October of last year.  Surveys of both residential and commercial users have been conducted.  Focus groups of both those populations were also completed. These documents can be found on our website at  Our latest Board direction has been to complete a draft Implementation Plan and to pursue the creation of a Joint Powers Agreement with other interested municipalities.  A draft Implementation Plan is due at the end of September and a draft Joint Powers Agreement has been circulated to all the cities in Sonoma County.

Q: While Sonoma Clean Power will aggregate its desired proportion of renewable energy by purchasing it from available sources, the proposed agency also plans to encourage development of renewable power within Sonoma County. What opportunities exist in that respect, and why is that effort important?

A: SCP could support the development of local renewable power projects that would provide clean energy and local jobs.  SCP will also make it possible for participants to sell excess renewable power they generate back to SCP.  SCP may also be able to provide more attractive net-metering programs than are currently offered by PG&E.

Q: As the water agency continues in its outreach and gathers comment beyond its initial market research, what are you finding to be the primary concerns of potential residential and business customers?

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