Sonoma County electric-car-ready, award says

Sonoma County chosen as most ready in region, according to climate-protection group.

Sonoma County was honored by the Bay Area Climate Collaborative as the “Most Electric Vehicle Ready Community for 2011” for its wide-ranging policies to accelerate widespread electric vehicle (EV) adoption and municipal usage of EVs.

Bay Area Climate Collaborative's award, given late last week, was announced Tuesday in a news release by Jim Leddy, spokesman for Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.

Leddy said 11 agencies were nominated for the award and their submittals were judged based upon number of installed and proposed charging stations, adopted policies and ordinances in support of charging stations, ease of permitting for EV charging stations, outreach and education to catalyze the EV market, and a number of other criteria.

  “This recognition is another demonstration of Sonoma County’s commitment to and investment in effective climate protection strategies," said Board of Supervisors Chair Efren Carrillo. "Our charging station network is essential to facilitate widespread adoption of electric vehicles throughout the region, and compliments our green house gas reduction goals.”

 Sonoma County was selected as the winner by unanimous decision, Leddy said.

Reviewers praised Sonoma County for their comprehensive work to assimilate EV technologies and highlighted the community outreach and education as having removed significant barriers to EV adoption.

The reviewers also praised Sonoma County for streamlining the permitting process, expanding their EV fleet, and for the County’s robust plans to install public and fleet charging stations.

 The Sonoma County Local Governments Electric Vehicle Partnership has been working together since 2008 to build out an electric vehicle  infrastructure to support mass introduction of EVs throughout the county.

Through grants and direct purchases, the partnership plans to have 129 charging stations, available for fleets and general public use, installed in the county by late 2011. Currently there are 39 charging stations installed at County, Santa Rosa City and Water Agency property for public use.

Healdsburg does not yet have any public charging stations. However,  Terry Crowley, head of Healdsburg's electric utility, said at Monday Healdsburg City Council meeting that he is investigating options for installing them in the city.

"We're looking into it," Crowley said.

The Sonoma County Local Governments Electric Vehicle Partnership includes the City of Cloverdale, City of Cotati, City of Healdsburg, City of Petaluma, City of Rohnert Park, City of Santa Rosa, City of Sebastopol, City of Sonoma, Town of Windsor, County of Sonoma, Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District, Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, Sonoma County Transportation Authority/Regional Climate Protection Authority, Sonoma County Water Agency.

 In addition to this honor, the Department of Energy 's Clean Cities initiative will host the Sonoma County Water Agency in Indianapolis later this month to discuss the pioneering work in electric vehicle readiness and explore innovative financing mechanisms to implement EV infrastructure systems.







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