A plan for Humboldt County’s energy future
RCEA’s guiding strategic document is RePower Humboldt (until recently referred to as the Comprehensive Action Plan for Energy, the CAPE). This plan was adopted in 2012 and updated in 2019.
Comments and questions from the public:
(Click on blue sections)
Response: RCEA supports development of distributed and utility scale solar in the county with our long-term power procurement, Net Energy Metering, Public Agency Solar, and Feed-in Tariff programs, and through development of the Redwood Coast Airport Microgrid, which once built will be the largest solar array on the North Coast. While solar energy will continue to be an important part of our power mix, several factors make it unrealistic to source all of our power from solar:
1) solar generates in the middle of the day, while our electricity demand picks up in the evening, which currently causes major issues for the state’s grid operators;
2) time-of-generation issues aside, thousands of acres of solar panels would be needed to generate enough electricity to meet our full demand (while many rooftops and parking lots are suitable for solar siting, the cost of rooftop solar is much higher than contiguous arrays);
3) batteries and other storage mechanisms are currently cost prohibitive to provide our entire nighttime/winter electricity supply. We are also mindful of the potential environmental impacts associated with large-scale materials sourcing, manufacturing, deployment, and end-of-life reprocessing of batteries. According to one source, only 3% of lithium-ion batteries are currently being recycled globally.
Response: The RePower Humboldt strategic plan published in 2013 showed that Humboldt County has hundreds of megawatts of untapped renewable energy potential from a variety of sources, including solar, wind, wave, and biomass. With a population of less than 140,000 and a limited industrial base, electric loads in Humboldt are small. In contrast, California’s urban counties have much larger loads and little potential for renewable energy generation other than rooftop solar. For example, in 2018 San Francisco consumed seven times as much electricity as Humboldt County, and Los Angeles County used 85 times what we did. If California as a whole is to meet its renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals, resource-rich counties like Humboldt will need to export a portion of their energy wealth to these urban load centers.
Click on blue sections for details:
Comprehensive Action Plan for Energy Activity
Redwood Coast Energy Authority Board of Directors meeting:
- June 27 – First draft of CAPE update presented to Board
- Located at the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District Office, 828 Seventh St., Eureka. Board agenda can be found on the Board of Directors page.
Climate Action Plan Activity
- June 4 – Southern Humboldt Community Workshop
- Tuesday, 6/4 from 6-7:30 PM at Redway Elementary School, 344 Humboldt Ave., Redway.
- June 12 – McKinleyville Community Workshop
- Wednesday 6/12 from 6-7:30 PM at Azalea Hall, 1620 Pickett Rd
- June 18 – Willow Creek Community Services Workshop
- Tuesday 6/18 from 6-7:30 PM at the Willow Creek CSD Office, 135 Willow Rd.
- July 9 – Present community engagement plan to Community Advisory Committee. RCEA office, 6-7:30 pm.
- July 25 – Present community engagement plan to RCEA Board of Directors at 3:30 pm, Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District Office, 828 Seventh St., Eureka.
Comprehensive Action Plan for Energy Activity
- Tuesday, September 3 – Draft 1 CAPE Workshop, Orleans. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Panamnik Building, 38150 Highway 96
- Thursday, September 5 – Draft 1 CAPE Workshop, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Redway Elementary School, 344 Humboldt Ave.
- Wednesday, September 25 – Offshore Wind Project Workshop, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Wharfinger Building, 1 Marina Way, Eureka
- Thursday, September 26 – RCEA Board of Directors meeting. 3:30 p.m. at the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District Office, 828 Seventh St., Eureka
- Thursday, October 17 – Draft 2 CAPE Workshop. 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Aquatic Center in Eureka. 921 Waterfront Drive (agenda)
- Friday, October 18 – Forests, Energy and the Environment (biomass power focus) 1-4 p.m. at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center. 921 Waterfront Drive, Eureka. (agenda) (slides)
- Thursday, October 24 – RCEA Board of Directors meeting. 3:30 p.m. at the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District Office, 828 Seventh St., Eureka (board packet)
- Tuesday, October 29 – CANCELLED– Community Advisory Committee reviews the CAPE, 6 p.m. (agenda)
- Tuesday, November 12 – RESCHEDULED- Community Advisory Committee reviews the CAPE, 6 p.m. at the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District Office, 828 Seventh St., Eureka
- Thursday, November 21 – RCEA Board reviews the CAPE at 3:30 p.m. at the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District Office, 828 Seventh St., Eureka
- Thursday, December 19 – RCEA Board reviews final draft of the CAPE and votes on approval at 3:30 p.m. at the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District Office, 828 Seventh St., Eureka
Forestry, Energy and the Environment Panel participants:
- Michael Furniss – Moderator, Consultant to RCEA
- Yana Valachovic – County Director and Forest Advisor, UC Extension
- Kevin Fingerman – Assistant Professor, Energy & the Environment, Humboldt State University
- Jason Davis – Deputy Air Pollution Control Officer, North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District
- Richard Engel – Director Power Resources, Redwood Coast Energy Authority
- Angie Lottes – Assistant Deputy Director for Climate & Energy, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
- Dan Chandler – Member 350.org
- Adam Steinbuck – Director, Fiber and Freight, Humboldt Redwoods Company, LLC
Facilitation by Ali Lee
Brief Summary of Workshops, Consultations, and Research
Prepared by Michael J Furniss
Climate and Forests Consultant to RCEA
Additional sources via Michael Furniss:
Forest Management and Climate Change – Michael J Furniss, HSU class
Climate Change and Land Use – Michael J Furniss, HSU class
Let’s Fill Our Cities With Taller, Wooden Buildings – New York Times
Climate Action Plan
In parallel with RCEAs’s CAPE planning, the County of Humboldt and the seven cities within its boundaries are developing a 2040 Climate Action Plan (CAP) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions throughout the region. This multi-jurisdictional plan will explore ways to reduce emissions while empowering local businesses and improving the health of our communities. Baseline emissions levels were informed by 2015 greenhouse gas emissions inventories RCEA is completing for each jurisdiction (see below, in progress).
Together the CAP and CAPE will determine the steps necessary to achieve a resilient and decarbonized future for Humboldt County.
Visit the County’s Climate Action Plan website
Climate Action Plan Survey – Complete the survey and see the latest workshop presentations, fact sheets, and public comments as they become available.