Posted on Categories Climate Change & EnergyTags , , , , ,

In this Nov. 12, 2020, file photo, traffic moves on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File) Golden Gate Bridge tolls are going up in July. Here’s how much Lake, Mendocino, Sonoma counties considering big geothermal power expansion


A plan to significantly expand geothermal electricity production in the North Bay — in a bid to create more 24/7 renewable production to ease California’s move into a zero-emissions energy over the next 24 years — is getting more buy-in from local officials.

The area already is home to the world’s largest geothermal power station, The Geysers, which produces almost half of California’s electricity production from that energy source, according to Calpine Corp., which runs most of the plants there. Now, Sonoma Clean Power, a community choice aggregation utility that serves upwards of 230,000 customers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties, wants to nearly double that output.

It hopes to spur more investment in smaller-sized, low-water-usage plants, scattering them across much of Lake County and parts of Mendocino and Sonoma counties to bring power production closer to residential and business customers.

To accomplish the plan, Sonoma Clean Power is proposing a geothermal opportunity zone, or GeoZone. On Dec. 7, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to join the zone.


Posted on Categories Sustainable LivingTags , ,

Local ‘Zero Waste’ teacher and champion Sunny Galbraith gets North Bay Spirit Award


When Sunny Galbraith dropped her cellphone into a toilet she didn’t do what most people do — console herself by turning the accident into an opportunity for an upgrade. Instead, the Sebastopol teacher and environmental activist looked for a refurbished phone to replace it.

“She had a Blackberry until a year ago,” said her friend and fellow activist Abigail Zoger in describing Galbraith’s dedication to minimalist consumption, even on a micro level. “Living in a modern society it’s hard to not leave a footprint. But Sunny is a person who tries to walk her talk.”

Galbraith, 45, tries to leave as small a print as possible. She rides an electric bike to work, brings her own plate to events, washes plastic bags to line dry for re-use. She doesn’t even own a dryer.

It’s all in service to her pet cause — reducing the amount of waste in the world.

A science and math teacher at Orchard View School in Sebastopol, Galbraith founded and oversees a student-run compost and recycling program on campus and at the neighboring Apple Blossom School. Over the past 13 years, the effort has diverted more than 90,000 pounds of organic and recyclable material from the landfill while instilling in children an ethos for the environment. The compost that comes from their worm bins is sold for $5 a bag.


Posted on Categories Climate Change & Energy, Sustainable LivingTags , , Leave a comment on Solar cooking conference extols virtues of cookers to developing world

Solar cooking conference extols virtues of cookers to developing world


Hundreds of people Saturday cooked using only the power of the sun – a practice little used in the United States, but considered a liberating tool for women in developing countries that also helps curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The solar cooking event at William Land Park capped a three-day conference by Sacramento-based Solar Cookers International. Attendees came from as far as Bolivia and Kenya. The cookers on display ranged from low-tech affairs featuring cardboard and aluminum foil to reflect the sun to sophisticated cookers featuring a giant lens on huge pedestals.

Yet all highlighted the basic simplicity of the solar cooker – all that’s needed is a surface to reflect and concentrate sunlight.

Attendees shared a passion for a way of cooking that emits little pollution and that requires only a sunny day as fuel. Nearly 3 billion people in the developing world cook food and heat their homes with traditional cook stoves or open fires, which account for more than half of the greenhouse gases contributed by cooking methods. A global study released in 2010 estimated that exposure to smoke from the cooking is the fourth-worst risk factor for disease in developing countries.

via Solar cooking conference extols virtues of cookers to developing world – Our Region – The Sacramento Bee.

Posted on Categories Climate Change & Energy, Sustainable Living, TransportationTags , Leave a comment on Rohnert Park joins the "hydrogen highway"

Rohnert Park joins the "hydrogen highway"


The next generation of green cars — hydrogen-powered vehicles that only emit water vapor from their tailpipes — are right around the corner, and Rohnert Park is set to be among the first places for early adopters of the new technology to fuel up.

A Eureka company recently received a $5.3 million grant from the California Energy Commission to build three hydrogen fueling stations in the state, including the only one on the North Coast at a Rohnert Park 76 gas station.

The stop would be part of California’s so-called “hydrogen highway,” a long-envisioned string of fuel stations in major metropolitan areas and along busy transportation corridors. So far, only 10 such public stations exist in the state, including nine in southern California and one in Emeryville. The only other public stations outside of the state include one in South Carolina and one in Connecticut, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

But now, after years of delay caused in part by the economic recession and lagging consumer demand for anything beyond hybrid vehicles, the push is back on to a build a hydrogen fuel network for California drivers.

via Rohnert Park joins the "hydrogen highway" | The Press Democrat.