North Coast Strategies for Energy Independence, Climate Adaptation & Emissions Reduction

Given the substantial relationship between water and energy, the relationship between local energy generation and local economic development, as well as the nexus between greenhouse gas emissions and watershed management, the NCRP is integrating energy independence and emissions reductions elements into its programmatic regional approach.

Throughout the North Coast Region, there is substantial concern about the emissions, ecosystem and human health impacts of catastrophic wildfire in the North Coast region and the regionalized public health impacts as a result of elevated particulate levels. Catastrophic wildfires often result in type conversion of native habitats and may create great soil and stream disturbance—both of which result in profound negative effects on wildlife and watersheds.

The communities in the North Coast region are interested in opportunities to manage forests and watersheds in a way that minimizes the impacts of catastrophic wildfire, reduces emissions and creates local economic opportunity, while conserving sensitive environmental resources.

The North Coast IRWMP has idendified potential strategies listed to the left for addressing energy independence, GHG emission reduction and climate change adaptation. This list was derived from stakeholder meetings in the region, and will be revised and enhanced over time. In keeping with the NCRP focus on local autonomy, these strategies may be relevant to some counties/sub-regions within the North Coast, and may not be of interest in other parts of the region.

NCRP Reports

North Coast Climate Mitigation, Adaptation, and Energy Independence Report

NC Energy Independence • Emissions Reduction • Job Creation • Climate Adaptation

Biomass Energy in the North Coast Region

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for the North Coast IRWM Plan

Climate Change and Agriculture in the North Coast of California

Northwest California Sustainable Energy and Water Conservation Outreach

The Flood and Stormwater Management Report for the North Coast Region

North Coast IRWMP Energy Efficiency & Energy Independence Projects

Map of North Coast Projects that Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Map of North Coast Renewable Energy Potential & Projects


Federal Clean Air Act (CAA) U.S.C. Title 42, Chapter 85 (1970, 1990)

CAA promulgates uniform national standards for a wide range of air pollutants and sources, through a handful of systems.  The CAA uses a two prong attack - in addition to regulating the air quality levels, it also allows regulate sources of pollution. As a result of actions to regulate GHGs under other Federal Clean Air Act programs, GHGs are required  to be addressed under the major source permitting requirements of the Act’s PSD and Title V programs. Tailoring Rule was necessary because implementing these requirements for GHG-emitting sources immediately after the regulations became subject to PSD and Title V requirements would have brought so many sources into those programs so as to overwhelm the capabilities of state and local permitting authorities to issue permits, and as a result, would have impeded the ability of sources to construct, modify or operate their facilities.

California Clean Air Act (Implements the Federal Clean Air Act)              

CCAA requires air quality plans to be prepared for areas of the state that do not meet air quality standards for volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, or sulfur oxide. The original plans were due in July 1991 and were to be designed to achieve a five percent annual reduction in emissions. There also are state standards for particulate matter, sulfates, hydrogen sulfide, vinyl chloride, and visibility. The CCAA requires each plan to include a wide range of measures. Each non-attainment area is classified as moderate, serious, or severe for each category of pollutant according to the severity of the problem. The CCAA does not address GHGs per se. Instead, local governments enact SB 375, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 (below).

Senate Bill X1-2 (Simitian, Chapter 1, Statutes of 2011) 

Signed into law to codify the 33 percent reductions in emissions by 2020 goal. SBX1-2 directs California Public Utilities Commission's Renewable Energy Resources Program to increase the amount of electricity generated from eligible renewable energy resources per year to an amount that equals at least 20% of the total electricity sold to retail customers in California per year by December 31, 2013, 25% by December 31, 2016 and 33% by December 31, 2020. The new RPS goals apply to all electricity retailers in the state including publicly owned utilities (POUs), investor-owned utilities, electricity service providers, and community choice aggregators. This new RPS preempts the California Air Resources Boards' 33 percent Renewable Electricity Standard.

Assembly Bill 1504. Forest resources and carbon sequestration. (Skinner, Chapter 534, Statutes of 2010)            

Bill requires Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and Air Resources Board to assess the capacity of its forest and rangeland regulations to meet or exceed the state's greenhouse goals, pursuant to AB 32.

Senate Bill 375. Sustainable Communities & Climate Protection Act (Steinberg, Chapter 728, Statutes of 2008)

Sustainable Communities & Climate Protection Act of 2008 requires Air Resources Board to develop regional greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for passenger vehicles. ARB is to establish targets for 2020 and 2035 for each region covered by one of the state's 18 metropolitan planning organizations. Implements the California and Federal CCAs.

Assembly Bill 811. Contractual assessments/ energy improvements legislation. (Levine, 2008)

Allows local government financing districts to offer energy efficiency project loans to eligible property owners through property tax lien financing.

Assembly Bill 118. Alternative Fuels and Vehicles Technologies. (Núñez, Chapter 750, Statutes of 2007)             

The bill would create the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, to be administered by the Energy Commission, to provide funding to public projects to develop and deploy innovative technologies that transform California's fuel and vehicle types to help attain the state's climate change policies.

Senate Bill 97. CEQA and Climate Change (Dutton, Chapter 187, Statutes of 2007)           

Directs Governor's Office of Planning and Research to develop CEQA guidelines "for the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions or the effects of greenhouse gas emissions."

Assembly Bill 1803 (Committee on Budget, Chapter 77, Statutes of 2006)            

Greenhouse gas inventory transferred to Air Resources Board from the Energy Commission.

Senate Bill 1. California's Million Solar Roofs (Murray, Chapter 132, Statutes of 2006)   

California's “Million Solar Roofs” plan is enhanced by PUC and CEC's adoption of the California Solar Initiative. SB1 directs PUC and CEC to expand this program to more customers, and requiring the state's municipal utilities to create their own solar rebate programs. This bill requires beginning 2011, a seller of new homes to offer the option of a solar energy system to all customers negotiating to purchase a new home constructed on land meeting certain criteria and to disclose certain information.

Senate Bill 107 (Simitian, Chapter 464, Statutes of 2006)              

SB 107 directs California Public Utilities Commission's Renewable Energy Resources Program to increase the amount of renewable electricity (Renewable Portfolio Standard) generated per year, from 17% to an amount that equals at least 20% of the total electricity sold to retail customers in California per year by December 31, 2010.

Assembly Bill 32. California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. (Núñez, Chapter 488, Statutes of 2006)        

This bill requires Air Resources Board (ARB) to adopt a statewide greenhouse gas emissions limit equivalent to the statewide greenhouse gas emissions levels in 1990 to be achieved by 2020. ARB shall adopt regulations to require the reporting and verification of statewide greenhouse gas emissions and to monitor and enforce compliance with this program. AB 32 directs Climate Action Team established by the Governor to coordinate the efforts set forth under Executive Order S-3-05 to continue its role in coordinating overall climate policy. As defined in the bill, “greenhouse gases” (GHG) include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).

Senate Bill 1078. California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program (Sher, Chapter 516, Statutes of 2002)          

This bill establishes the California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program, which requires electric utilities and other entities under the jurisdiction of the California Public Utilities Commission to meet 20% of their renewable power by December 31, 2017 for the purposes of increasing the diversity, reliability, public health and environmental benefits of the energy mix.

Senate Bill 812 (Sher, Chapter 423, Statutes of 2002)      

This bill added forest management practices to the California Climate Action Registry members' reportable emissions actions and directed the Registry to adopt forestry procedures and protocols to monitor, estimate, calculate, report and certify carbon stores and carbon dioxide emissions that resulted from the conservation-based management of forests in California.

Assembly Bill 1493. Clean Car Standards (Pavley, Chapter 200, Statutes of 2002)              

The "Pavley" bill requires the registry, in consultation with the State Air Resources Board, to adopt procedures and protocols for the reporting and certification of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from mobile sources for use by the state board in granting the emission reduction credits. This bill requires the state board to develop and adopt, by January 1, 2005, regulations that achieve the maximum feasible reduction of greenhouse gases emitted by passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks.

Assembly Bill 117. Community Choice Aggregation. (Migden, Chapter 838, 2002)            

Community Choice Aggregation. Related to transactions between electricity suppliers and end-use customers, authorizes various entities to aggregate electrical loads, and defines an ‘‘aggregator’’ as one of those entities that provides power supply services, including combining the loads of multiple end-use customers and facilitating the sale and purchase of electrical energy, transmission, and other services on behalf of the end-use customers. This bill would authorize customers to aggregate their electrical loads as members of their local community with community choice aggregators, as defined. The bill would authorize a community choice aggregator to aggregate the electrical load of interested electricity consumers within its boundaries.

Senate Bill 527 (Sher, Chapter 769, Statutes of 2001)      

This bill revises the functions and duties of the California Climate Action Registry and requires the Registry, in coordination with CEC to adopt third-party verification metrics, developing GHG emissions protocols and qualifying third-party organizations to provide technical assistance and certification of emissions baselines and inventories. SB 527 amended SB 1771 to emphasize third-party verification.

Senate Bill 1771. California Climate Action Registry (Sher, Chapter 1018, Statutes of 2000)          

This bill establishes the creation of the non-profit organization, the California Climate Action Registry and specifies functions and responsibilities to develop a process to identify and qualify third-party organizations approved to provide technical assistance and advice in monitoring greenhouse gas emissions, and setting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions baselines in coordination with CEC. Also, the bill directs the Registry to enable participating entities to voluntarily record their annual GHG emissions inventories. Also, SB 1771 directs CEC to update the state's greenhouse gas inventory from an existing 1998 report and continuing to update it every five years.

Assembly Bill 4420 (Sher, Chapter 1506, Statutes of 1988)           

The California Energy Commission (CEC) was statutorily directed to prepare and maintain the inventory of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and to study the effects of GHGs and the climate change impacts on the state's energy supply and demand, economy, environment, agriculture, and water supplies. The study also required recommendations for avoiding, reducing, and addressing related impacts - and required the CEC to coordinate the study and any research with federal, state, academic, and industry research projects.

Regional Air Quality Management Districts (AQMD)      

California air quality and GHG emissions are managed at the regional level by 35 local air districts (four in the North Coast). Pursuant to the Federal Clean Air Act, AQMDs enforce local, state, and federal air pollution laws, including related to GHG emissions. In the North Coast these are: North Coast Unified AQMD is a regional environmental regulatory agency which has jurisdiction over Humboldt, Del Norte, and Trinity Counties; Mendocino County AQMD is based in Ukiah; Northern Sonoma County AQMD is based in Healdsburg; and Siskiyou AQMD is based in Yreka.