HSU in Quest for Renewable Energy

Arcata – Humboldt State University’s Schatz Energy Research Center will partner with the Redwood Coast Energy Authority and Pacific Gas & Electric Company in a $200,000 project financed by the California Energy Commission to conduct engineering and economic studies in support of homegrown renewable energy in Humboldt County.

The objective is a strategic plan to enable the county to develop its renewable energy resources to equal 75 percent to 100 percent of its electricity demand, as well as a considerable fraction of its heating and transportation needs.

Scheduled to start July 1 and wrap up July 31, 2010, the initiative will span the full range of renewable energy resources as well as energy efficiency and demand management alternatives and storage and conversion technologies.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Humboldt County to lead the way to the renewable energy future our world needs,” said Peter Lehman, Director of HSU’s Schatz Center. “We’re very pleased to be working with the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, PG&E and the people of Humboldt County to start down this road.”

The grant stems from a 2005 report compiled by Schatz and the authority that concluded that Humboldt County’s renewable energy resources in wind, wave and biomass power are more than adequate to match the county’s energy needs.

In addition to a long-term strategy, the project will identify near-term steps the county should take. It will probe not only engineering and market needs, but also policy and regulatory issues, public education and outreach and associated conversion and electricity grid integration.

Economic analyses will identify least-cost options that meet prescribed renewable energy development goals.

“There is a strong local commitment to develop a secure renewable energy future,” Lehman said. “What we will provide with these analyses is an orderly, capital-efficient development of local renewable energy resources, making Humboldt County a pioneer that can pave the wave for many other communities across California and the nation.”