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County renewable energy plan unveiled; energy groups call for public comment  

Credit:  Luke Ramseth/The Times-Standard | www.times-standard.com 19 September 2012 ~~

Two local energy groups released a plan Tuesday to meet most of Humboldt County’s electricity, transportation, and heating needs with renewable resources by 2030.

The plan, called RePower Humboldt Strategic Plan, was developed over two and a half years by the Schatz Energy Research Center at Humboldt State University and the Redwood Coast Energy Authority. The plan was funded by a $200,000 grant from the California Energy Commission, said Schatz research engineer Jim Zoellick.

The plan recommends increasing energy efficiency in the county, in addition to increasing wind, wave, hydropower, and biomass energy development, and creating more infrastructure for electric cars. It also examines potential costs and job impacts.

”It’s economically possible and technically possible,” said Redwood Coast Energy Authority Director Matthew Marshall. “Now we need to roll up our sleeves and get it done.”

The goal, Marshall said, is to eventually meet the majority of the county’s energy needs locally, as opposed to relying on imported natural gas and petroleum. In 2010, 34 percent of the county’s energy sources were local. In a “peak” scenario that number could jump to 68 percent local by 2030, according to the plan.

Zoellick said energy planning isn’t usually done on a local level like RePower Humboldt. Other counties, including Sonoma, also received funding from the California Energy Commission to create similar energy
plans. The RePower Humboldt plan is unique because it relies considerably on renewable energy sources – something Humboldt County has relatively more potential for, Zoellick said.

”We are on the leading edge of energy planning,” he said.

He said the county has the potential to generate its electrical power needs with local resources. The plan release took place at the only modern electric car charging station in Humboldt County, where drivers can use a credit card to re-charge their car. The charger is located next to the Fisherman’s Terminal in Eureka.

The next step in the RePower Humboldt plan is to take public comment before the two groups draw up a final version, Zoellick said. Public comment is being accepted through Oct. 26, and a public meeting will be held Wednesday, Sept. 26, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka.

If you go:

What: RePower Humboldt plan meeting

When: Sept. 26th, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Where: Wharfinger Building, 1 Marina Way

On the Web:

–A public draft of the plan is now available and the community is encouraged to review it and provide feedback, either online at http://www.redwoodenergy.org/programs/repower or http://www.schatzlab.org/repower or in person at the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, 517 5th Street, Eureka, 707-269-1700.

Source:  Luke Ramseth/The Times-Standard | www.times-standard.com 19 September 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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