SERC has begun work on a Renewable Energy-based Secure Community (RESCO) study for Humboldt County. (See SERC Energy News v.4, #2 for more information about RESCO.) The objective of the research is to assess the feasibility of developing local renewable energy resources to meet 75% to 100% of the local electricity demand as well as a significant fraction of heating and transportation energy needs. The project team, including SERC, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company, attended a kick-off meeting at the California Energy Commission in early November.
How much of Humboldt County’s energy needs could be supplied by wind and wave energy? At what point would the local electricity grid become unstable due to the intermittent nature of these resources? How many biomass power plants would be necessary to buffer these resources? Should we invest in energy storage technologies or increased transmission to the rest of California? How much would this all cost?