Energy consultant Geof Syphers will serve as interim CEO for Sonoma Clean Power, guiding the rollout of the countywide public power agency during its formative stages.
[caption id="attachment_76175" align="alignleft" width="229"] Geof Syphers[/caption]
The agency's five-member board of directors appointed Mr. Syphers during a closed-door session Tuesday. It is the first hire for the renewable energy-focused power agency, which would purchase power for its customers and deliver it over the existing grid maintained largely by Pacific Gas & Electric Co.
Mr. Syphers was previously hired as lead consultant for the group developing the proposed agency at the Sonoma County Water Agency in mid-2012, under a $124,000, two-year contract.
His history includes work at Codding Enterprises, where he began work as chief sustainability officer in 2006. He launched his own consulting firm, Syphers Consulting, in 2010. The appointment follows a nationwide search that began earlier this year.
As interim CEO, he will oversee marketing, outreach, further hiring and other activities for an agency that is expected to begin serving its first round of customers on Jan. 1.
Several Sonoma County municipalities have yet to decide if they will allow the agency to serve their residents, with Windsor being the first to officially join and to receive a seat on the governing Sonoma Clean Power Authority. Sebastopol voted to join the authority Tuesday. The city of Cotati has also voted to join the authority, but has yet to appoint a representative to the board. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors authorized the agency's rollout to the county's unincorporated areas.
Mr. Syphers will serve in the interim role until all of Sonoma County's municipalities decide whether or not they will allow the agency to serve their residents. Santa Rosa and Sonoma have yet to have final votes on the subject, with Santa Rosa's position as a large power customer making it one of the closest watched.
A full board of participating municipalities and the county will then decide on a permanent CEO. The board is currently composed of Sonoma County Supervisors David Rabbitt, Shirlee Zane, Mike McGuire and Efren Carrillo, along with Windsor Vice Mayor Bruce Okrepkie.
Mr. Syphers graduated from Sonoma State University with a bachelor's degree in applied physics, and received a master's degree in energy engineering from the University of Massachusetts.