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.

Follow the 2017 Solar Eclipse with NASA TV!

In this week’s encore broadcast, eclectic Americana multi-instrumentalists Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys make their first visit to eTown’s solar-powered stage to share their forward-looking take on American roots music. Also joining us for the first time is Swedish/Icelandic female folk duo My Bubba who share their sparse and beautiful music, as well as stories about their experiences in circus school and side jobs as locomotive engineers.

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.

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.

Students’ Engineering Creativity on Display at SSU

May 4, 2016
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Sonoma State is primarily a teaching campus, but many students also engage in research projects, including some innovative inventions, that were on display yesterday in the University's newly combined “Symposium of Research and Creativity."

 The possible applications of a mobile solar-powered generator are almost limitless, says co-developer Jarrett Baglietto, especially since their designed their unit with enough storage to drive even some big, power-hungry equipment.

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.

Green Energy Advocacy Groups Consolidate

Jun 16, 2015

  The former Climate Protection Campaign is now the Center for Climate Protection, but that’s not all that’s changed for them. The busy non-profit has also moved into new, more visible offices in downtown Santa Rosa, and is expanding a bit as well.

The combined organizations are holding at open house at their new quarters between 4th and 5th streets next Thursday afternoon. See details here.

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.

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.

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.

Developing Solar Power on Agricultural Lands

Aug 22, 2014
West County Union High School District

  Sonoma County has opened the door  for the construction of  new solar arrays that could feed Sonoma Clean Power, on agricultural lands and elsewhere. But local environmentalists are keeping a wary eye on where those developments might be located.

  Sonoma Clean Power’s new PRO-Fit program is open to 14 kinds of renewable energy generation projects, including biomass, tidal current, geothermal and small hydroelectric. But for now, says COE Geof Syphers, most proposals are expected to be solar installations.

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.

Michael Kyes and Sebastopl's "Sun Dragon"

May 27, 2014

  KRCB joins in mourning the passing of Sebastopol City Councilman Michael Kyes, who was an effective advocate and activist for solar power well before seeking office. We remember that side of this dedicated community member, by revisiting a North Bay Report from December, 2008, in which he explained a prominent project in which he was involved.