RePower Humboldt

RePower Humboldt was a community-wide effort to define a vision and Strategic Plan for achieving energy independence and energy security in Humboldt County.  

This effort culminated in the development of the RePower Humboldt Strategic Plan to guide the integration of renewable energy into Humboldt County, develop local energy infrastructure, and set energy-related goals.  You can view the full Strategic Plan and supporting documents by using the links to the right.

The California Energy Commission developed the RESCO (Renewable Energy Secure Community) program to support communities in developing local renewable energy resources, including energy efficiency and conservation, in an way that meets local energy needs and secures a sustainable energy future at minimal costs to consumers. Benefits of becoming an Energy Secure Community potentially include:

  • Less reliance on foreign energy sources
  • More predictable, less volatile energy prices
  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
  • Creation of local jobs and local economic stimulus.

Strategic Planning

The RePower Humboldt Strategic Plan is a result of more than two years of research, analysis and community involvement.  The plan lays out an array of opportunities for Humboldt County and recommends a set of actions to create jobs, stimulate the local economy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase local energy security. The study was a collaborative effort of the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, the Schatz Energy Research Center at Humboldt State University, and the Pacific Gas & Electric Company. Principal funding came from the California Energy Commission, with match funding from each of the three participating organizations.

Humboldt County has the ability to lead the way toward a sustainable energy future by using local renewable resources to meet the majority of its electricity needs and a large portion of its heating and transportation energy needs.  Key recommendations from the Strategic Plan include:

  • Aggressively pursue cost-effective energy efficiency opportunities
  • Support responsible wind energy development
  • Expand the use of biomass energy that is consistent with forest restoration needs and priorities
  • Develop infrastructure for and encourage the use of electric vehicles
  • Encourage development of distributed energy installations
  • Pursue options for local development and ownership of renewable energy projects, as well as local purchase of the power generated
  • Form an energy leadership group to move the plan forward.

Community Scale Renewable Energy

Upon completion of the RePower Humboldt effort, the project team received a follow-on grant of $1.75 million to demonstrate community-scale renewable energy in Blue Lake, California. The project was meant to demonstrate and validate key aspects of the RePower Humboldt Strategic Plan, including the availability of biomass as a key resource, and adoption of plug-in electric vehicles and heat pumps as critical to cost-effective reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The two main elements of the project included the design and installation of a "first-of-its-kind woody biomass gasifier and fuel cell power system" led by the Schatz Energy Research Center and the Blue Lake Rancheria, and a community-based energy upgrade program- the Mad River Valley Community Pilot Project- led by RCEA.

Please see the full news announcement from SERC here, as well as news and updates on the biomass project.