Lowering greenhouse gas emissions has become a top priority for many of Sonoma County’s cities. The timeline for action continues to accelerate.
Healdsburg officials this week reviewed the city's inventory of greenhouse gas emissions and took steps to create a climate mobilization strategy.
"Healdsburg is a leader in Sonoma County in actually making a measurable impact through clean energy production," David Hagele said. "And we're not just adding out of state clean energy purchases and then celebrating, ‘Hey, look what we did."
Council member David Hagele, is also chair of NCPA, Northern California Power Agency, the independent utility Healdsburg gets its power from.
Healdsburg, like all of Sonoma County, has a goal of reducing carbon emissions and achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.
That's a particular challenge for the city which has long drawn nearly all of its power from renewables like hydro-electric and geothermal plants, but has had to turn to non-renewable sources in recent years as 2019’s Kincade Fire and the ongoing drought impact renewable outputs.
Despite the city’s large renewable portfolio, Healdsburg has the highest per-capita carbon emissions of any city in Sonoma County. Utilities Director Terry Crowley said mandatory changes will be necessary to meet emissions targets.
"Voluntary participation is not going to get you to a cleaner fuel source," Crowley said. "If you mandate renewable portfolio standards such as the state has done, those goals will be met quicker than asking for voluntary participation."
Next up on the target list: 60% emission reduction by 2025 compared to 1990 levels.
"Right now with the projects that we have in hand, we'll probably reach 52 to 55%," Crowley said. "And so there is one more project that we need to really capture and try and affect before 2025. And so that's what we're looking at, right, is like what is that project going to be? And really looking at from a diversity perspective, not putting all of your eggs in one basket as far as your energy source. Cause if you lose like the geothermal plant, that's 40% of the city's power that has to be replaced with something else."
The next step for Healdsburg is the drafting of a climate mobilization strategy, a roadmap to help the city identify how to reduce carbon emissions - set to be finalized by next June. That sets the stage for Healdsburg, alongside all of Sonoma County, to take specific actions to reduce emissions by 80% over the next seven years.