Sonoma Clean Power Celebrates 10 Years of Providing Clean Energy to Sonoma and Mendocino Counties

Sonoma Clean Power Celebrates 10 Years of Providing Clean Energy to Sonoma and Mendocino Counties

A decade of electric results, with more to come

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — Sonoma Clean Power (SCP) marks a significant milestone as it celebrates a decade of leadership in delivering clean, affordable, and locally sourced energy to its communities. Founded in response to the desire for a choice in a customer-owned public utility, SCP emerged as California’s second Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) in 2014, and today generates the power for 87 percent of all homes and businesses in Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Without relying on taxes, it has since constructed 195 megawatts (MW) of new renewable power and passed more than $100 million in direct savings to its more than 500,000 customers. SCP pioneers dozens of innovative programs and gives back to the community along the way.

“After 10 years, we’re proud that we can definitively say this idea for a customer-owned utility providing cleaner energy at competitive rates has worked,” said CEO Geof Syphers. “Through natural disasters and other challenges, we’ve consistently delivered cleaner, cost-effective power, proving our resilience. Moving forward, there is much work to do, and our incredible team and board members remain committed to combating the climate crisis head-on, helping customers cut their energy costs, and serving our communities.”

“Over the past decade, Sonoma Clean Power has been fighting for the climate AND saving customers money,” added Lynda Hopkins, County of Sonoma fifth district Supervisor and SCP board chair. “The agency has successfully gained the support and resources we need to improve power reliability. SCP is dedicated to energy equity and providing the tools and solutions for every single customer to benefit from the cleanest energy available.”

Prior to SCP’s inception, California’s energy crisis prompted legislative action in 2002, empowering local governments to take over procuring electricity for residents and businesses. By 2014, SCP was operational in Sonoma County and service was expanded to Mendocino County in 2017. With SCP paving the way as an early example, there are now 25 CCAs in California serving more than 14 million customers and building more than 14,000 MW of new renewable power.

“Congratulations to Sonoma Clean Power on 10 years of serving its community and bringing clean energy and electrification mainstream,” said David Hochschild, chair of the California Energy Commission.

10 Years of Progress

Over the past decade, SCP has initiated many innovative programs, setting a standard for sustainable power throughout the state. In 2014, SCP debuted EverGreen, becoming California’s sole – and still only – utility offering 100 percent locally generated energy 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Today, nine of SCP’s member cities and counties have switched all, or some, of their facilities to EverGreen, along with more than 4,000 business and residential customers. EverGreen is now a model for California’s future as the first electric service that complies with the state’s climate goals for the year 2045.

Working to help make electrification more accessible, Drive EV assisted more than 1,250 customers make the switch to electric vehicles (EV) over its three year duration. Partnerships with CALeVIP and the Bike Electric program have promoted clean transportation solutions and supported California’s goal of installing 250,000 public EV charging stations by 2025, as well as facilitated electric bike purchases for 423 low income customers. SCP’s Advanced Energy Center, which opened in 2021 in downtown Santa Rosa, offers resources and support for customers transitioning to electric appliances and technologies, boasting more than 10,000 visitors and providing millions of dollars in rebates and incentives since opening. In 2022, SCP unveiled its all-electric headquarters, the world’s first “GridOptimal” building, a milestone in energy consumption optimization and decarbonization of the state’s electric grid.

The Advanced Energy Rebuild Program supported the construction of 344 new homes and provided over $1.8 million in total incentives to homeowners affected by the area’s devastating 2017 wildfires. Since 2018, the Nonprofit EV Incentive Program has facilitated the purchase of 20 EVs for local nonprofits, reducing emissions and supporting their essential work.

In addition to directly serving its customers, SCP advocates on behalf of all citizens of Sonoma and Mendocino counties in the California state legislature, as well as at various regulatory agencies. This work includes developing and pursuing policies that support the agency’s mission to combat the climate crisis, benefiting customers in its service area and across the state. These successes have reduced customers’ bills by tens of millions of dollars. In 2020, SCP and a coalition of CCAs found multiple accounting and math errors in a PG&E proposal. A judge subsequently ordered PG&E to correct its math, reducing charges to customers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties by $34 million dollars in 2021 alone.

Community partnerships and investment have always been a cornerstone of SCP’s values. Over the past 10 years, SCP has provided more than $5 million in donations and sponsorships to nonprofit organizations and groups, with a particular focus on addressing the fundamental needs of its community members.

A Look to the Future

At the forefront of SCP’s mission is to end all reliance on fossil fuels. To this end, SCP has initiated the Geothermal Opportunity Zone (GeoZone) to accelerate the development of local geothermal resources needed to meet the state’s clean energy goals. The ultimate aim of the GeoZone is to build 600 MW of new, renewable baseload power to support the existing solar power throughout Sonoma and Mendocino counties while showcasing the potential of new geothermal technologies that can be used worldwide.

Grid reliability continues to pose a major threat to the clean energy transition, and SCP is building on its award-winning demand response program launched in 2018 with GridSavvy Rewards. The program offers cash rewards to customers who conserve energy when SCP sends an alert. In 2023, over 7,600 households participated and cut three MW on impacted summer days.

With energy bills reaching higher prices than ever, SCP remains focused on affordability and meeting its customers’ basic needs. Its Advanced Energy Center will now be known as the Sonoma Clean Power Customer Center. The reimagined Customer Center will educate visitors on clean energy technologies and provide a place where customers can speak to a knowledgeable staff member regarding understanding their bills, strategies to lower costs, and programs and incentives.

“As we head into our next decade, our focus remains clear: to make the transition to cleaner energy not just a concept, but an affordable reality,” continued Syphers. “We stand as your ally, dedicated to making the energy transition easier.”

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About

Sonoma Clean Power is the public power provider for Sonoma and Mendocino counties, serving about half a million people. In downtown Santa Rosa, SCP operates its Customer Center, dedicated to helping customers cut their energy costs and renovate their homes. To learn more, visit sonomacleanpower.org or call 1 (855) 202-2139.