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County of Sonoma

Beacon Participant Profile

“The County’s ongoing, bold commitment to climate protection flows from the Board’s goal to reduce the County’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2015.” – Sonoma County website

About Sonoma County

  • Established: 1850
  • Population: 484,470 (as of 2008)
  • Location: 55 miles north of San Francisco
  • Elevation: ranges from sea level to 4480 feet
  • Area: 1,575 square miles

Climate Action Activities

  • ICLEI member (current as of May 2011)
  • Greenhouse gas inventory in progress, completion expected December 2011
  • Climate action plan for agency operations completed 2006
  • Community climate action plan in progress, completion expected December 2011
  • Sonoma County Energy Watch Program (in partnership with PG&E) provides technical assistance, services, and rebates to municipalities, non-profits, small businesses, and special districts to decrease utility costs by reducing electrical and gas consumption.
  • Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (a Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE program) provides property owners with energy improvement financing paid back through the property tax system.
  • Comprehensive Energy Project provides cash-neutral energy efficiency measures for county owned buildings, including lighting retrofits, HVAC upgrades, water retrofits, and installation of a 1.4 MW fuel cell cogeneration power plant.
  • Installed 750kW photo-voltaic solar array providing 80% of the electricity for the County’s Juvenile justice Center
  • Established green fleet policy and green fleet procurement program
  • Composting program at detention facilities diverts food waste and is part of jail industries training program
  • Established green leasing policy whereby the County, as a major leaser of commercial real estate, uses that market advantage to improve environmentally-friendly leased property

Climate Action Resources

The Beacon Award program is sponsored by the Institute for Local Government and the Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative. SEEC is an alliance between three statewide non-profit organizations and California’s four Investor-Owned Utilities funded by California utility ratepayers and administered by Southern California Gas Company, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, Pacific Gas and Electric Company and Southern California Edison, under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission


Sonoma County’s Energy Independence Program

A best practice case study developed by Pat Stoner, Statewide Local Government Energy Efficiency Coordinator.


Sonoma County establishes Regional Climate Protection Authority

Sonoma County’s nine cities and multiple county agencies have been engaged in local climate protection efforts for more than ten years. In 2002, Sonoma became the first county to have all its jurisdictions conduct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventories. In 2005, all ten local jurisdictions adopted a joint target of reducing GHG emissions to 25% below 1990 levels by 2015. In 2009 Sonoma took another pioneering step by establishing the Regional Climate Protection Authority (RCPA).


Sonoma County Waste Management Agency

A website offering information and resources on commercial & municipal composting as well as other recycling and waste reduction information.