Sonoma Clean Power – Energy Efficiency Programs and Resources


SCP Lead Locally

Sonoma Clean Power offers a wide array of energy efficiency programs and resources to save energy and lower the cost to upgrade your home.

Residential Rebates

Are you a residential homeowner looking to make energy improvements to your home? Would you like to learn how to lower the cost of installing a heat pump heating and cooling system, a heat pump water heater, or an induction cooktop? Did you know that Sonoma Clean Power offers incentives to residential customers who are improving the energy efficiency of their homes by installing energy efficient appliances and equipment? Details can be found at the SCP Advanced Energy Center website here:

SCP Electrify

Sonoma Clean Power has an online tool that helps you plan an upgrade to an all-electric home. The SCP Electrify tool allows you to discover which clean technologies are right for you and your home by providing a personalized, interactive dashboard that is specifically tailored to your preferences. The tool offers a customized blueprint of when is the best time to make specific upgrades, and you can also get a snapshot of how each technology fits into your home by room and learn more about the benefits. Details can be found at the Sonoma Clean Power website here:

Induction Cooking

Sonoma Clean Power offers education, incentives, and a loaner program to get started with induction cooking. Unlike electric stoves of the past, induction produces heat directly into the pan, leading to unparalleled precision, control, and response that rivals natural gas stoves. Besides being easy to physically clean, switching to induction cooktop means cooking on clean, renewable electricity. If you currently cook with natural gas, you also eliminate a major source of air pollution in your home, leading to cleaner, healthier air for you and your family. Plus, you can borrow an induction burner for two weeks to test it out at no charge. Details can be found at the Sonoma Clean Power website here:


Multifamily Building Improvements

Owners or managers of multi-family housing units looking to make energy improvements can take work with Sonoma Clean Power and the Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN) to upgrade your multi-unit dwelling property. BayREN already offers $750 per unit for qualifying energy improvements, with additional incentives available for electrification measures. Multifamily properties must have at least 5 dwelling units to be eligible. Now, SCP is adding $500 for any necessary in-unit electrical panel upgrades ($750 for low-income units) and $5,000 for central panel upgrades. Additionally, they also offer bonus incentives for demand response technologies, including smart thermostats and electric vehicle chargers. Details can be found at the Sonoma Clean Power website here:

Heat Pump Water Electrification for Local Government

Are you a local government agency that would like to upgrade the hot water heaters in your buildings? Did you know that Sonoma Clean Power is offering low-to-no-cost water heater replacements when upgrading to a high efficiency heat pump water heater? This program is targeted at replacing natural gas water heaters with a capacity of 30 gallons or greater. Participants also agree to participate in a demand-response program that will save them additional money as well as help to effectively manage the electric grid. Details can be found at the Sonoma Clean Power website here:

Education Hub for Consumers and Professionals

Do you want to learn more about upgrading your home or building to be all-electric? Are you looking for rebates and incentives to help save costs? Come visit the Sonoma Clean Power Education Hub for articles, news, and event recordings on a range of topics from Battery Systems to Water Heating. Additional topics include choosing a heat pump system, improving indoor air quality, switching to electric yard tools, purchasing an electric vehicle or e-bike, and transitioning to induction cooking technology. Details can be found at the SCP Advanced Energy Center website here:

GridSavvy Rewards Program

When you enroll in GridSavvy Rewards, you’ll get paid for helping SCP power the electric grid with more local, clean energy. The 2023 GridSavvy season is currently in progress and runs until October. During times of high demand for electricity, Sonoma Clean Power can initiate an Energy Saving Event to request voluntary energy savings from customers. After an alert is issued, participants can choose to reduce energy use manually by shutting off lights, stopping appliances, or reducing your immediate heating or cooling needs.

Alternatively certain “smart devices” can earn rewards automatically by turning off lights you aren’t using, delaying running of major appliances like the dishwasher, or pausing your electric vehicle charger when an alert is issued. If you have a furnace or air conditioning, upgrading to a smart thermostat is a great way to reduce your heating and cooling costs. These smart thermostats can then be programmed to both avoid peak hours and to respond automatically to GridSavvy Alerts.

Once you enroll in the program, you’ll receive an alert up to 24 hours in advance via text or email that there is an opportunity to save energy and earn rewards. There are no penalties if you don’t reduce your usage, only rewards. Simply reduce electricity use when SCP notifies you and you’ll earn rewards. You’ll earn $2 for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) you save during each Energy Saving Event. That’s roughly equal to how much electricity it takes to run one dishwasher cycle. You’ll help California prevent rotating power outages and reduce the need for fossil fuels.

Local Sonoma Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Toolkits Available from Sonoma and Mendocino Libraries

With this handy toolkit, you can measure how much energy and water is consumed and make a few quick home upgrades to save money. Each toolkit comes with a copy of the Home Energy and Water Savings Guidebook that provides tips and guidance on simple home upgrades, as well as dimmable LED lightbulbs, weather stripping, low-flow shower heads, and aerators for you to install. The toolkit also includes measuring devices such as a Kill-a-Watt, infrared laser thermometer, and flow rate bag to help to save energy, water, and money. The DIY Home Energy and Water Savings Toolkit Guidebook walks you through simple steps that will help you take charge of your home’s energy and water use to reduce your utility bills.

The Home Energy Toolkit has been created through a partnership between Sonoma Clean Power, Sonoma Water, Sonoma Marin Saving Water Partnership, County of Sonoma Climate Action and Resiliency Division, Sonoma County Library, County of Mendocino, and the Mendocino County Library. The Home Energy Toolkits can be checked out from your local Sonoma or Mendocino County Library branch for three weeks. (Note: Toolkits are not available at Forestville or Occidental branches.)$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:1485966/ada?



Climate Protection Initiative


RCPA’s efforts to increase local funding for climate action made substantial headway with the creation of the Climate Protection Initiative in 2023.  The effort was kicked off publicly in late 2022 with a hybrid meeting held at the Sonoma Clean Power Advanced Energy Center. Interested members of the public were invited to join three program committees led by local climate experts and supported by RCPA staff.  Committees were divided into three sectors: 1) Buildings, 2) Transportation, and 3) Land & Water.  The separation of topics was designed to focus our planning and brainstorming efforts to create project recommendation lists for the RCPA Board.

Program Committee meetings began in late January 2023 and continued into May.  Each committee created a detailed list of recommended projects that could be implemented with additional funding. Committee leads and staff helped to guide these recommendations to align with the RCPA Sonoma Climate Mobilization strategy. This initial round of committee meetings culminated with a virtual community workshop on April 19th. Congressman Jared Huffman gave remarks about current climate efforts, as well as his involvement in the creation of RCPA. Leads from the three program committees presented the new ideas for an expenditure plan supporting a potential climate revenue measure in 2024.

As of June 2023, the next step is to conduct polling on the potential climate revenue measure. The polling will incorporate both ideas generated by the program committees and community input from the April 19 workshop. The RCPA Board will use the results from the polling to determine if to move forward with a revenue measure, what type of revenue measure should be pursued, and what activities should be included in the expenditure plan for potential funding. Results from the poll will be presented at an RCPA Board meeting later this summer.

To see more details on the Climate Protection Initiative efforts so far, please visit the links below:


Which Way for Hydrogen Fueling in 2023?

“This is an unprecedented time in history for hydrogen with interest being amplified worldwide due to its potential to address the climate crisis as well as energy security and resiliency. Though there are significant challenges, zero and low-carbon hydrogen can be a key part of a comprehensive portfolio of solutions to achieve a sustainable and equitable clean energy future. And the United States is stepping up to accelerate progress through unprecedented investments in clean energy.” ~U.S. Department of Energy, DOE National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap

Solving the current climate crisis will take thoughtful planning, sustained dedication, and some good old-fashioned luck. Some potential climate solutions are huge game changers, while many are smaller in scale. Some ideas will come to us fully developed and ready to implement. Others will start small and evolve to become more influential as we make progress against our emission reduction goals.

One large area that is ripe for development over the upcoming decade is the production of emissions-free hydrogen to either power fuel cells or for use in energy storage systems. Until this point, hydrogen has not been a central focus of work here in Sonoma County, and we have focused much more on the purchase of electric vehicles and the installation of EV charging equipment. Compelling use cases for hydrogen can be found in aviation, shipping vessels, freight and passenger rail, facility operations, industrial processes, and light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles.

State and Federal Guidance

To start with a slightly larger context, the State of California considers itself technology-neutral and actively supports all viable options to reach zero emissions. These options include, but are not limited to, battery-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell electric across all vehicle sizes and classes. To help meet statewide zero-emission goals, California has pledged to work with the private sector and all appropriate levels of government to spur the construction and installation of 200 hydrogen fueling stations by 2025. As of November 2022, just over 60 stations across the state offer retail service for light-duty vehicles, with approximately 22 stations in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area and only one in the North Bay. Thirty-four more are in the planning stages, with proposed stations in Novato (Marin County) and Santa Rosa currently in the permitting process. Additionally, Rohnert Park has been approached about adding hydrogen fueling at existing gas stations. There are also seven existing stations for heavy-duty vehicles (HDV) in the state, with at least four more planned for the future.

The Federal government has also made developing hydrogen fueling sources a top priority. The U.S. Department of Energy has recently allocated up to $8 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for hydrogen-related projects. A large amount of this funding is designated for developing Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs to create networks of hydrogen producers, consumers, and local connective infrastructure to accelerate the use of hydrogen as a clean energy source. There are multiple efforts working to secure funding for at least one Clean Hydrogen Hub in California. If a Bay Area location is chosen, Sonoma County would have access to this fuel source and be able to expand clean hydrogen fueling to the north.

Zero-Emission Vehicles

To be truly emission-free battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) require zero-emission electricity. Battery-electric vehicles use electricity to charge their batteries, while the zero-emission production of hydrogen at scale for later use in FCEVs also requires large amounts of electricity to power the process. Access to this renewable electricity will be one of the major limiting factors for the operation of large-scale zero-emission fleets, whether these be hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles or battery-electric vehicles.

When compared with battery-electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles do have several key benefits:

  • Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can carry more passengers/freight per volume due to the lack of heavy batteries. This weight reduction allows manufacturers to increase passenger space and vehicle range when EVs cannot.
  • The time needed to refuel hydrogen is dramatically quicker than recharging batteries and is much closer to the time that an average customer expects for vehicle refueling. For battery-electric vehicles, DC Fast Chargers are the fastest way to charge currently. However, these chargers still take longer than hydrogen fueling and require a large amount of high-demand electricity that must be ready and available for use at a moment’s notice.
  • Heavy metals are used in hydrogen fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries. The metals used for converting hydrogen to electricity are in the cathode but are not needed for fuel storage. This allows hydrogen-based systems to scale without a continuing need for large inputs of heavy metals. In contrast, electric vehicles require large inputs of heavy metals for both usage and storage mechanisms.
  • Long-duration hydrogen storage also offers the potential to offset energy production and use the resultant electricity at different times of the year. If stored securely, hydrogen does not degrade or lose power density over time. In contrast, lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles are better suited for short-term storage under 10 hours before discharge losses begin to reduce efficiency.

Hydrogen Production and Distribution

When zero-emission electricity is used to produce hydrogen from water, the resultant product is referred to as “green hydrogen.” Unfortunately, most currently available hydrogen is produced from non-renewable methane gas feedstock and cannot be considered zero-emission. This product is commonly known as “grey hydrogen.” More details about various production methods can be found below:

Electrolysis (Water Splitting)

  • Electrolysis uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen produced in this fashion can result in zero greenhouse gas emissions, depending on the source of the electricity used.
  • Unfortunately, several major limitations must be overcome before 100% zero-emission hydrogen can be produced at scale. Research is underway to improve the electrical intensity of the process to make it comparable to using electricity directly in electric vehicles. Additionally, work is being undertaken to reduce the production cost significantly compared to more mature carbon-based methods such as natural gas reforming.

Natural Gas Reforming / Steam Methane Reformation (Fossil Resources)

  • Approximately 95% of the hydrogen produced today in the United States is made via steam-methane reforming in which high-temperature steam (700°C–1,000°C) is used to produce hydrogen from a methane source, such as natural gas. A secondary water-gas shift reaction is then used to create additional hydrogen from the waste products.
  • Even with the upstream process of producing hydrogen from natural gas and delivering and storing it for use in vehicles, the total greenhouse gas emissions from a fuel cell vehicle are cut in half and petroleum is reduced by over 90% compared to today’s gasoline vehicles.

Biomass Gasification (Biomass/Waste)

  • Gasification is a process that converts organic biomass at high temperatures (>700°C) into carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide. The feedstock used can include many different forms of renewable organic resources, such as agricultural crop residues, forest residues, fast-growing crops grown specifically for energy use, organic municipal solid waste, and animal wastes.

Hydrogen Distribution Options

  • For use as a transportation fuel, hydrogen is usually compressed into a smaller volume, stored in tanks, and trucked to destinations. Compressing hydrogen into smaller volumes for later use is energetically expensive. Due to its small molecular size, hydrogen is also especially prone to leakage and can cause indirect warming when released into the atmosphere.
  • Both hydrogen-only fuel providers and owners of existing fossil-fueling stations are investigating the addition of hydrogen fuel pumps throughout California. For municipal agencies considering hydrogen fuel for fleet use, co-locating services for publicly owned heavy-duty vehicles alongside consumer-facing services for light-duty vehicles can allow a single site to serve both purposes.


Both battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are viable pathways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and both require major investments in infrastructure to succeed. While the light-duty vehicle market is currently dominated by electric vehicles and much focus is being given to developing a statewide electric charging network, hydrogen fuel cells are well positioned for use in heavy-duty vehicles and several other hard-to-decarbonize industries. Specific focus will need to be given to improving the efficiency of the electrolysis process, ensuring a reliable source of zero-emission electricity, and balancing the investments in battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell transportation networks. As opportunities arise and funding becomes available, Sonoma County has the potential to expand the clean hydrogen fueling system northward in alignment with state and federal climate goals to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This blog post is based on a research paper written by RCPA to educate our members and partners throughout Sonoma County on some of the issues surrounding using hydrogen in zero-emission vehicles. You can read the full research report on the RCPA website here:


Additional resources for further reading are included below:

Hydrogen Fueling – Tools and Resources

Sebastopol Adopts Climate Action Framework, Project Supported by RCPA in alignment with Sonoma Climate Mobilization Strategy

On July 19th, 2022, the Sebastopol City Council unanimously adopted the Sebastopol Climate Action Framework, a document that will guide the City as it works to address the climate emergency. The Climate Action Framework provides Sebastopol with the next steps towards reaching the goals of the Climate Emergency Resolution adopted in 2019, which included a goal of reducing emissions to net zero by 2030, sequestering additional carbon from the atmosphere, preparing for current and future climate impacts, and centering equity and community engagement in the City’s ongoing climate actions. 

Sebastopol’s CivicSpark Fellow, Phoebe Goulden, led the development of the Sebastopol Climate Action Framework beginning in Fall 2021 and worked closely with the Sebastopol Climate Action Committee, Sebastopol Planning Department staff, and the Regional Climate Protection Authority (RCPA) to assemble the plan. The Framework development process included comprehensive community engagement activities to understand better the concerns and priorities of Sebastopol community members in relation to climate change. These engagement activities included presentations to community-based organizations, holding a community workshop, soliciting input through a resident survey, and tabling at community events. This outreach was guided by a Community Engagement Strategy that was adopted in December 2021 to ensure that vulnerable populations were included throughout the effort.

Figure 1. Framework development process. More detail on the engagement process is available in Appendix C of the Framework.


What is the Climate Action Framework?

The Sebastopol Climate Action Framework is a key tool to aid the City and its residents in addressing the climate emergency. The Framework provides an overview of Sebastopol’s climate progress so far and sets community-driven goals for additional action in six areas: Transportation, Sustainable Land Use, Buildings and Clean Energy, Consumption and Waste, Community, and City Operations and Leadership.

Unlike a “climate action plan”, the Framework does not include specific actions that Sebastopol will take and is not certified under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The City of Petaluma adopted a similar approach in developing its Climate Emergency Framework in January 2021.


RCPA’s Role

RCPA was a key partner in the development of Sebastopol’s Climate Action Framework, hosting CivicSpark Fellow Phoebe Goulden in its Santa Rosa office for the 11-month CivicSpark service year. The Framework shares many of the goals of RCPA’s Sonoma Climate Mobilization Strategy, which was an important reference document throughout the Framework’s development. The four major areas of the Mobilization Strategy are Decarbonization, Carbon Sequestration and Ecosystem Services, Resilience and Adaptation, and Equity and Community Engagement. To better integrate Sebastopol’s goals with regional efforts, in Appendix A of the Framework: Actions for Future Consideration, each potential action is matched to one of the Climate Mobilization Strategy initiative areas. \

It is our hope that Sebastopol’s Climate Action Framework can serve as a model for other jurisdictions that are committed to climate action but face the challenge of limited resources to address climate change. A Climate Action Framework or similar document can provide direction and momentum for action while requiring a fraction of the time and funding that a formal Climate Action Plan can take to complete. The Community Engagement Strategy and other resources from Sebastopol’s Climate Action Framework can also serve as a reference for other jurisdictions embarking on a similar process.


Next Steps

The Framework does not commit the City of Sebastopol to specific climate actions but instead provides the process and principles by which to evaluate potential actions. Therefore, an important next step is to determine priority actions for the City to take on moving forward. An initial list of actions that could help Sebastopol achieve the Framework’s goals is included in Appendix A of the Framework: Actions for Future Consideration. Over the next few months, Sebastopol’s Climate Action Committee (CAC) will evaluate and prioritize emission-reduction and preparedness strategies, including those in Appendix A. The CAC’s recommendations will be brought to the Sebastopol City Council for approval and appropriation of funds.

The Framework also recognizes the need for continued regional collaboration to address cross-jurisdictional topics such as county traffic patterns, emissions from the consumption of goods and services, watershed-level issues that cut across city boundaries, and more. As the regional organization dedicated to climate efforts, RCPA will continue to facilitate this collaboration through its jurisdictional members, agency partners, citizen involvement committees, and coordinated work with the Sonoma County Transportation Authority. As part of this broader effort, the Sebastopol Climate Action Framework will allow the City, its residents, and its local community-based organizations to be leaders in combating climate change both within the city boundaries and across the entire county.

RCPA weighs in on CARB’s Draft 2022 Scoping Plan

RCPA recently submitted feedback to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) on its Draft 2022 Scoping Plan, urging more aggressive action to address the climate emergency. The Scoping Plan is important because it guides future State-level policy and funding decisions that are essential to our success in achieving its local climate goals.

RCPA’s most significant concern with the draft plan is that it doesn’t go far enough fast enough to support the Sonoma Climate Mobilization Strategy and our goal of carbon neutrality by 2030.



What is the Scoping Plan and why does it matter?

CARB is required under AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, to develop a Scoping Plan that describes how California will meet its climate goals. The first Scoping Plan was released in 2008, and the most recent update was completed in 2017. 


The 2017 Scoping Plan evaluated progress toward the AB 32 goal of returning to 1990 levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2020. It also provided a technologically feasible and cost-effective path to achieving the SB 32 target of reducing GHG emissions by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

Overview of the Draft 2022 Scoping Plan

For the first time, the Draft 2022 Scoping Plan evaluates scenarios to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 or 2045 by reducing GHG emissions and increasing carbon sequestration on natural and working lands. Previous scoping plans focused on reducing transportation, energy, and industrial emissions.

CARB’s proposed scenario achieves carbon neutrality by 2045 through these two means:

    1. Reducing GHG emissions by deploying a broad portfolio of existing and emerging fossil fuel alternatives and clean technologies, and 
    2. Increasing carbon sequestration by adopting land management activities that prioritize restoration and enhancement of natural systems to improve resilience to climate change impacts and capture and store atmospheric carbon in the ground. 

RCPA’s Response

While the Draft 2022 Scoping Plan includes many actions aligned with RCPA’s Sonoma Climate Mobilization Strategy, including the Priority GHG Reduction Strategies for Local Government Action in Appendix D, the proposed scenario does not define a pathway for California to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

To support Sonoma County’s ambitious climate goals and address the scientific imperative, Sonoma County needs State support to significantly scale up our local actions and more rapidly transition our economy from its dependence on fossil fuels. RCPA urged CARB to consider the inclusion of a new scenario that enables the State to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.

What happens next?

A final version of the 2022 Scoping Plan is expected to go to the CARB board for approval later this year. RCPA will monitor the status of the plan and provide additional comments if necessary to ensure the plan supports our local climate goals.

Bans Against the Construction of New Gas Stations Spread throughout Sonoma County

It is indisputable that a climate emergency threatens the natural and human-built environments. All nine incorporated jurisdictions plus the County of Sonoma have adopted resolutions confirming this fact. The effects of global warming are already visible locally, with more dire impacts predicted to come in the near future. If we want to slow the increasing threat of climate change, as well as adapt to the altered ecological conditions before us, we need to take high-impact societal-wide actions immediately.

Ironically, the most needed actions may not provide immediate reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the short-term, but are critical to ensure the elimination of long-term emissions potential. In other words, our near-term decisions have long-term consequences. This is especially true in relation to infrastructure upgrades and equipment installations that can potentially impact our behavior patterns for decades to come.

We see evidence for this fact in our work around converting buildings to be all-electric and transforming our transportation system. Moving away from natural gas appliances in residential buildings and installing high-efficiency electric alternatives for heating, cooling, hot water, clothes drying, and cooking are key capital decisions with long-term implications. Once new equipment is purchased and installed, it will be used for many years to come. The same long-term lock-in effect can be seen in our transportation systems as well.

Underground gasoline storage tanks have an expected service life of 40 years. Any new gas stations built now will have the potential to continue pumping fossil fuels for the next four decades. That puts the expected life of any new station many, many years past our current climate goals that have been set for 2030, 2040, and 2050. To reduce this long-term potential for additional fossil fuel use, multiple local jurisdictions have either adopted or are considering adopting bans on the construction of any new gas stations and the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure at any existing stations.

Sonoma County: A National Leader

Starting in February 2019, a grassroots community-based organization called the Coalition Opposing New Gas Stations (CONGAS) has been working to stop the construction of new gas stations in Sonoma County. After successfully protesting the construction of several proposed stations, a major victory came in March 2021 when the City of Petaluma adopted a permanent ban on the construction of any new stations within their city limits. This act made Petaluma the first city in the United States to enact such a ban.

Discussion followed at the next several Regional Climate Protection Authority board meetings on how to support other jurisdictions that were interested in following Petaluma’s lead. In September 2021, the RCPA Board adopted a resolution urging the County and the local incorporated jurisdictions to adopt the prohibition. Coordination meetings among municipal planning staff were held to share available resources, identify policy constraints, and identify subsequent actions.

Since that time, several additional jurisdictions have taken steps forward. The City of Rohnert Park adopted a permanent ban on the construction of new gas stations in March 2022, after passing a temporary moratorium the previous month. This action was followed by a ban in the City of Sebastopol that was adopted by the City Council in April 2022. Additionally, the Town of Windsor is bringing an item to their council shortly, with Santa Rosa and Cotati expected to follow later this year.

The table below shows the current status of local bans on the construction of new gas stations:

Jurisdiction Adoption of Bans on the Construction of New Gas Stations (as of April 20, 2022)
City of Cloverdale No action taken yet.
City of Cotati Draft ordinance being developed by Planning Department staff; No date set.
City of Healdsburg No action taken yet.
City of Petaluma Permanent ban approved by City Council on March 1, 2021.
City of Rohnert Park Permanent ban approved by City Council on March 22, 2022.
City of Santa Rosa Direction given by Climate Action Subcommittee on Feb. 9, 2022 to move forward with drafting ordinance and present to Planning Commission; No date set.
City of Sebastopol Permanent ban approved by City Council on April 19, 2022.
City of Sonoma No action taken yet.
Town of Windsor Direction given by City Council on Nov. 3, 2021 to move forward with drafting code; No date set.
County of Sonoma Broad support from Board of Supervisors on January 25, 2022; To be discussed as part of April 2022 General Plan Scoping Workshop to receive staff direction from BOS.
Regional Climate Protection Authority Adopted a resolution on September 13, 2021 urging the County and incorporated jurisdictions to adopt a prohibition on the construction of new gas stations.

Moving the Needle

Given that transportation accounts for over 60% of our local community greenhouse gas emissions, multiple actions are needed to meet our long-term climate goals. In addition to our work on banning the construction of new gas station, RCPA is partnering with our colleagues at Sonoma County Transportation Authority (SCTA) to implement strategies from the 2050 Comprehensive Transportation Plan, Vision Zero Action Plan, and Shift Sonoma County Plan that reduce greenhouse gas emissions by making it easier and safer to get around without a car and accelerating the transition to electric vehicles. Starting later this year, we will also work with SCTA staff as they develop a new Countywide Active Transportation (CAT) Plan in partnership with multiple local jurisdictions.

These efforts are a valuable and needed complement to the work on banning the construction of new gas stations. We are working diligently to move both fronts forward in short order. Very shortly, we hope to be able to say that Sonoma County is the first county in the nation where all local jurisdictions agree that no new gas station infrastructure should be built or expanded in the face of our current climate emergency.


Accelerating EV Adoption in Sonoma County

Sonoma County’s emissions from transportation account for roughly 60 percent of total emissions, according to RCPA’s most recent greenhouse gas inventory.

To meet RCPA’s 2030 goal of achieving carbon neutrality, we must transform our transportation system from one based on fossil fuel powered cars to one that is multimodal, with more feasible clean power options for getting around in Sonoma County. These options include safer bicycle and pedestrian routes, improved transit service, and replacement of fossil fuel powered vehicles with electric vehicles (EVs).

To achieve this goal, RCPA’s Sonoma Climate Mobilization Strategy includes two strategies focused on changing how we get around in Sonoma County:

  1. Drive Less Sonoma County – Make it easier to get around Sonoma County without a car.
  2. EV Access for All Partnership – Accelerate the transition to 100 percent electric vehicles (EVs) for all transportation needs not otherwise met by biking or walking.

This post will focus on RCPA’s work to accelerate the transition from fossil fuel powered to electric vehicles.

Over the last few years, RCPA has worked to provide education and resources to help local drivers transition to EVs and to increase the number of publicly accessible EV charging stations in Sonoma County. For example, RCPA:

  • Implemented the Sonoma EV 101 service – A 24/7 responsive online knowledge base for common electric vehicle questions. The knowledge base includes articles that address three core questions: 1. What kind of EVs can I buy? 2. Where can I charge them? And 3. What rebates and incentives are available?
  • Promoted workplace charging stations by contacting over 40 private and public employers to share information about workplace charging solutions and sources of grant funding to assist employers in installing charging stations.
  • Refined existing EV charging station siting analysis with an improved online map that shows opportunities for charging in Sonoma County. Using this updated map, the team developed a list of the top 20 electric vehicle charging station siting zones in Sonoma County and presented them to elected representatives of each jurisdiction along with EV charging network providers.

How many EVs are there in Sonoma County?

At the end of 2020, there were almost 10,000 EVs registered in Sonoma County (figure 1) [1]. An additional 1,440 EVs were sold in Sonoma County during the first half of 2021.

Figure 1: EVs Registered in Sonoma County as of December 31, 2020

The rate of EV adoption will need to increase significantly to meet the goal of 100,000 registered EVs in Sonoma County by 2030 (figure 2). This goal was established in the 2017 Shift Sonoma County Low Carbon Transportation Action Plan.

In its Electric Vehicle 2021 report, the Bloomberg New Energy Forecast (BNEF) predicted that the global outlook for EV adoption is improving based on a combination of policy support, improvements in battery performance, decreases in battery cost, expansion of EV charging infrastructure, and growing commitments from automakers to transition their fleets to EVs.[2]

The number of available EV models has increased significantly from under 100 models in 2015 to over 350 in 2020. Over the same period, the average range of EVs increased from roughly 130 to 210 miles.[3]

An often overlooked benefit of EVs is the money they save consumers in ongoing fuel and maintenance costs. In a recent study of relative ownership costs of currently available EVs and comparable internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, Consumer Reports found the following:[4]

  • Seven of the nine most popular EVs on the market cost first-time owners less than the best-selling, and top-rated ICE vehicles in their class, in many cases matching or exceeding the performance of some of the top-performing ICE vehicles in their class.
  • Lifetime ownership costs for all nine of the most popular EVs on the market under $50,000 are many thousands of dollars cheaper than the best-selling and top-rated ICE vehicles in their class, with typical savings ranging between $6,000 and $10,000.

The rapid advances in the EV market combined with State and federal policy and funding support will make EVs accessible to a broader range of people and increase the likelihood of Sonoma County meeting its 2030 EV adoption goal.

Where are the EV charging stations?

The Shift plan set a goal of 11,000 public and shared private charging stations by 2030. As of July 1, 2021, Sonoma County had a total of 791 charging stations, the majority of which are Level 2 (figure 3). Level 2 chargers can provide about 14 to 35 miles of range per hour of charging compared with about 5 miles of range per hour for Level 1 chargers. DC Fast chargers are able to charge an EV to 80 percent capacity in about 30 minutes. [5]

Figure 3: Public and Shared Private EV Chargers in Sonoma County as of July 1, 2021

Between 2018 and 2021, the number of EV charging stations in Sonoma County increased as shown in Figure 4. New EV charging stations were installed in portions of the county such as the coast that previously did not have access to public EV charging stations.

A map with more details on EV charging stations is available at

Figure 4: Sonoma County EV Charging Stations 2018 vs. 2021

What will it take to meet our 2030 EV goal?

The transition to EVs appears to be at a tipping point due to increased awareness of the climate crisis, rapid expansion of EV models and battery range, and supportive public policies like Governor Newsom’s executive order banning sales of new gas powered vehicles in 2035. What needs to happen here in Sonoma County to achieve our local goal of 100,000 registered EVs by 2030?

One critical action will be to make EVs more accessible and affordable to all Sonoma County residents. Early adopters of EVs have been primarily higher income households with access to private charging in single family homes. To reach Sonoma County’s 2030 EV adoption target, EVs must become more accessible to lower income households and residents of multifamily units.

RCPA is working with the Decommissioning Internal-Combustion Vehicles (DIVE) Group at Stanford University [6] to support community engagement on the topic of EVs in Sonoma County. RCPA wants to increase its understanding of the needs and barriers relative to EV adoption in low income communities in order to design more effective EV policies and programs.

RCPA will also continue working with local jurisdictions and partner agencies to facilitate the deployment of more public EV charging stations, with a focus on workplace and multifamily locations. RCPA plans to research policy options to require installation of EV charging infrastructure and equipment in public locations as well as research upcoming funding opportunities to accelerate deployment.

Reducing transportation emissions in Sonoma County is challenging. Electrifying our transportation system is one key strategy to get us to zero emissions. We also need to create more options for getting around without a car and will explore these opportunities in future blog posts.

In the meantime, let us know your ideas for lightening the carbon footprint of our transportation system by sending an email to


[1] California Energy Commission (2021). California Energy Commission Zero Emission Vehicle and Infrastructure Statistics. Data last updated 4/30/21. Retrieved 8/23/21 from

[2] Electric Vehicle Outlook 2021, BloombergNEF,

[3] IEA, Electric car models available globally and average range, 2015-2020, IEA, Paris

[4] Electric Vehicle Ownership Costs: Today’s Electric Vehicles Offer Big Savings for Consumers, Consumer Reports, October 2020,

[5] California Energy Commission (2021). California Energy Commission Zero Emission Vehicle and Infrastructure Statistics. Data last updated 7/1/21. Retrieved 8/23/21 from

[6] More information on the Decommissioning Internal-Combustion Vehicles Group is available at