At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board directed staff to begin work towards a municipal bond to fund renewable energy and other efforts to combat climate change. A municipal bond would need to be approved by voters on the November 2020 ballot. The Board’s actions are in response to a public call for public financing  of renewable energy development after the Humboldt Wind Project was denied by the Board in December.
“Humboldt County continues to lead on renewable energy development. By publicly financing renewable energy development, we can ensure that money stays local and that projects are broadly supported by the public,” said Tom Wheeler, Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Information Center. “Together with the forthcoming Climate Action Plan, 2020 will be a big year for climate action in the county.”
The exact projects to be financed through a municipal bond have not been identified yet. County staff are directed to work together with experts from the Redwood Coast Energy Authority to identify the highest priority projects that could be immediately funded. Projects could include: advance work to prepare for offshore wind development, like necessary upgrades at existing terminals; establishment of solar microgrid systems around critical infrastructure; and efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions from other sectors, like transportation.
“Renewable energy development is not only good for the climate, it is good for jobs—developing the clean energy economy here in Humboldt. And by supplying power locally, it is good for our security in the case of a natural disaster or another power shutoff, helping the county or critical infrastructure ‘island’ from the larger grid,” said Mr. Wheeler.
At the hearing, the Board heard from many citizens concerned about climate change and eager for the county to take bold and immediate steps to address greenhouse gas emissions.