WHEREAS, recent power outages have levied enormous costs, the threat of grid disruption is not going away, there is an inherent vulnerability in transmitting large volumes of energy over long distances, transmission networks will always be subject to disruption by natural and human (negligence, terrorism) elements, dramatically declining costs for solar and storage have changed the economics of distributed energy, and ensuring power for critical facilities is a paramount public safety priority to protect the health and well-being of California’s citizens; and
WHEREAS, new employment opportunities from substantial grid modernization programs could be created not only for the labor workforce currently employed by utilities, but for other skilled workers looking for a steady job offering prevailing wages and benefits, and PG&E’s bankruptcy means that many jobs associated with PG&E are at risk, and one way to ensure these jobs remain viable is through redeployment in a massive effort to build energy resilient infrastructure at tens of thousands of critical facilities located throughout California, most of which are public facilities which would appropriately be subject to labor agreements; and
WHEREAS, relevant microgrid pilot project experience funded by the CEC could be rapidly replicated and up-scaled, building upon lessons learned from the existing California Energy Commission (CEC)- funded pilot projects, as well as the almost 2,000 microgrids currently operating in the United States, and this modernization effort can start at critical facilities in low income and disadvantaged communities in high fire threat districts that are likely to experience future power shutoffs, expanding upon priority criteria already developed by the CPUC for the Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), and community microgrids can be optimally implemented through a proposed local energy resiliency planning methodology called Advanced Community Energy, integrating local government general planning and distribution energy planning in a fundamentally new way;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Sonoma County Democratic Party urges our town councils, county supervisors and state legislators to research and incentivize the development of community microgrids; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Sonoma County Democratic Party calls for passage of legislation to establish a state program to provide funding, technical expertise, best practices and local capacity building to help all cities and counties plan and implement local Advanced Community Energy (ACE) systems, including community microgrids.
Resolution adopted by the Sonoma County Democratic Party on December 10, 2019