renewable energy

California Update for Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Jan 24, 2018

• The Trump administration launched a new tariff on the solar industry Tuesday over concerns that foreign imports of solar parts are taking away from business from U.S. manufacturers.

• University of California Regents are scheduled to vote on a 2.5 percent tuition increase Wednesday — the second consecutive hike after a six-year freeze.

Today's reporting by Ezra David Romero and Ben Adler.

courtesy of College of Marin

This week students at College of Marin headed back to the classroom to start a new school year. One thing they might not have noticed is a change in what kind electricity the college is using. KRCB’s Tiffany Camhi reports.

The College of Marin has been a long-time leader in sustainability efforts in Marin County. MCE has been providing alternative energy sources to the county since 2010.

Sonoma Vineyard Doubles as Renewable Energy Laboratory

Jul 3, 2017
Steve Mencher, KRCB

Micro-grids are scaled-down versions of the giant network that delivers electricity across huge distances to thousands of customers. They hold great promise for both utilizing renewable power and serving remote or isolated populations. And an important testing ground for this emerging technology is a local vineyard.

Stone Edge Farm is part of a group of related businesses that are each exploring ways to adapt renewable energy technologies to their operations. Ryan Stoltenberg runs through the various applications.

Anti-Nuke Activists Reunite, Reflect

Oct 31, 2016
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

When local opposition scuttled plans for an atomic energy plant on Bodega head in the early 1960s, the seeds were sown for subsequent no-nukes protests throughout California and beyond. Members of the Abalone Alliance, an early protest group, reunited in the coastal town over the weekend, to review their shared past, and consider their part in shaping a nuclear-free energy future.

Getting to a Renewably Powered Future

Jul 24, 2016

  Sooner or later, clean electricity will have to power our future. But that future world will be significantly different than the one we live in now. In this first of a three-part series, KRCB explores the projections of two local energy industry analysts.

Transportation is a huge consumer of oil and gas, and converting that to renewably-sourced electricity will be one of the biggest challenges we face, says Richard Heinberg. Because moving people around is just the tip of the melting iceberg.

EVs in Sonoma County Cut Emissions, Boost Economy

Jun 18, 2016

  Transportation is the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Sonoma County. So efforts to boost the adoption of emission-free electric vehicles are accelerating.

Driving an electric car in Sonoma County should be, at worst, a break-even proposition compared to a gas-powered vehicle, according to Sonoma Clean Power’s Geof Syphers.

  Like the car ads used to say:  Your mileage may vary. But here are some detailed figures from recent EV convert Doron Amiran of the Center for Climate Protection, documenting his household's experience.

Making “green” ammonia as a chemical battery

Jan 18, 2016

  As California -- and the world at large – looks for alternatives to fossil fuels, one local innovator is focusing on a biochemical process that he believes holds great promise.

Electric Vehicle Adoption Accelerates

Jan 3, 2016

If you think you’ve been seeing more electric cars on local roads in the past year, you’re right. Today’s North Bay Report examines the factors behind this trend.

The leading reasons given for EV purchases are shown in the graphic below.

Economic Incentives for Home Solar Systems Under Fire

Dec 2, 2015

  The economics of installing home solar energy systems could change dramatically if utility-backed rate changes are approved by state regulators.

PG&E spokeswoman Ellen Hayes says the incentives for solar systems are a holdover from the early days of alternative energy deployment in California, and are now due to be updated. But, she says, the utility remains supportive of further solar expansion.

  However, Brad Heavner, from the California Solar Energy Industries Association questions that timetable.

Community Choice Power Coming Under Fire

Nov 24, 2015
Laura Musikanski/Morguefile

  Community Choice Aggregation--the alternative power service model now being used in Sonoma and Marin Counties--is under attack by San Diego's major utility, even as other cities are moving toward adopting it. Suzanne Potter rep0rts.

Energy Efficiency Boosts California Economy

Aug 21, 2015

Reducing the energy used by buildings and appliances across California has saved consumers billions, while also creating jobs and stimulating other sectors of the economy. But there’s still more that needs to be done for the state to meet its long-term goals.

Despite Gains, Greenhouse Gas Goal Remains Elusive

Jul 29, 2015
Center for Climate Prtection

  Sonoma County cut its total greenhouse gas emissions by about 200,000 tons last year. That’s the good news. But to meet the county’s ambitious goals, we’ll have to do far better.

The annual Greenhouse Gas Report for Sonoma County was published Tuesday by the Center for Climate Protection. The full document can be found and downloaded here.

Anticipating Life After Fossil Fuels

Jul 26, 2015

  What happens when we’ve burned up all the available fossil fuels on Earth?  Santa Rosa energy analyst Richard Heinberg says that’s a question we are already late in addressing.

Richard Heinberg’s latest book is Afterburn: Society Beyond Fossil  Fuels. We’ll hear more from him on tomorrow’s North Bay Report.

Strong First Year for Sonoma Clean Power

Jun 29, 2015
Sonoma Clean Power

Sonoma Clean Power has exceeded even the agency’s expectations in its first year; now they’re out to build on that success.

Part of Sonoma Clean Power’s mission is support for and the creation of new local sources of renewable power. CEO Geof Syphers says they have made strides in that area, too.

  Although they are competitors in one area, Sonoma Clean Power and PG&E work closely together in many others, observes SCP Board Chairman Mark Landman,

100% Renewable Energy, is it Possible?

Mar 30, 2015
Flickr user Baron Reznik/Creative Commons

Energy: civilization can’t run without it. But the way we use energy – depending mostly on fossil fuel – can’t go on for long, say analysts worried about the rising impacts of climate change. Elena Krieger director of Oakland-based energy think tank PSE Healthy Energy has a plan for boosting renewable energy. 

Solar Energy's Long History

Mar 9, 2015

  What do Socrates, Leonardo Da Vinci and Albert Einstein have in common? They were all early advocates for the use of solar energy.

  Over the centuries, many innovative uses have been developed for simple solar devices, notes John Perlin, author of Let It Shine, the 6000 year story of Solar Energy.

Betting on Zinc in the Race for a Better Battery

Nov 12, 2014
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  A vital piece of our renewable energy future depends on better batteries.  A Marin-based company, working with the US Navy, is developing a new type of battery that uses an old material—zinc—in a new way.

There is a sense of urgency in the En-Zinc product development efforts, as Burz is well aware that many others, all over the globe, as seeking solutions to the better battery need.

First Local Solar Purchase for Sonoma Clean Power

Nov 4, 2014

  From its inception, one of the goals of Sonoma Clean Power was to support the creation of local renewable energy generation projects. They have now announced a contract to buy the power from their first such project—although it has yet to be built. Bruce Robinson has details.

Meanwhile, the cities of Petaluma and Rohnert Park have until the end of January to decide whether or not they will become part of  Sonoma Clean Power and its various programs. Residents of other parts of the county will be able to be included starting in December.

Encouraging EV Adoption

Oct 23, 2014

Renewable power sources and wider use of electric cars are radically reshaping the energy business, in ways that are just beginning to take hold, with California and the North Bay at the forefront.

Tourism could be another avenue toward wider adoption of electric vehicles. Plans to support that in Sonoma County have been gradually getting rolled out for some time now, says David Worthington, the county's vehicle fleet manager. But right now, electric car rentals are an important missing link.

Creating Climate Wealth

Oct 20, 2014

  Forget fossil fuels and extraction technologies. Now there’s money to be made in developing and expanding renewable energy sources.

    Jigar Shah will be a keynote speaker at the “Business of Local Energy" Symposium in Petaluma on Thursday. See a full event agenda here.

State Senate Bill Would Streamline Solar Permits

Aug 7, 2014

  A balky permitting process is deterring homeowners from installing solar systems, according to a California legislator. So he's proposed a measure to ease the process. Lori Abbott reports.