A new type of wind power plant is in the works, and it is claimed to be able to produce clean energy from the sun and the wind with virtually no carbon footprint, fuel consumption, or waste production. And not only that, it purportedly uses heat from the sun to produce its own wind, which would make this new type of plant desirable in areas with low or inconsistent winds.  Read more…


The Windsor Efficiency PAYS® program received national recognition in January for modeling an exceptional efficiency program that saves both energy and water.

The ‘Program of Promise’ award came from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Alliance for Water Efficiency. The two organizations collaborated to recognize a total of 12 top programs across the US, Canada and Australia including five exemplary award winners and seven honorable mentions. Windsor Efficiency PAYS® was one of the seven honorable mentions, as was the City of Santa Rosa for its ozone laundry program.

Windsor Efficiency PAYS® offers water and energy upgrades to Windsor homeowners and renters without upfront costs. The PAYS® program works because it allows participants to ‘Pay As You Save,’® with no loan and no debt associated with repayment for select upgrades. Possible upgrade measures include high efficiency clothes washers, refrigerators, toilets, hot-water recirculation pumps, showerheads, and drought-resistant landscaping. After installation, participants pay a surcharge on their water bill with the assurance that their estimated savings on combined utility bills (energy and water) will exceed the bi-monthly water surcharge.

Windsor Efficiency PAYS® is mainly focused on single-family home owners. However, renters may also participate, one of the unique aspects of the program. In the first few months of the program, 219 multi-family units installed efficiency upgrades, quickly exceeding the program’s goal of 200 multi-family units.  The number is expected to exceed 300 units in the next few months. This kind of success is uncommon for efficiency programs across the US.

Interested Windsor residents are encouraged to contact a Windsor Efficiency PAYS® Certification Agent at the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program at (707) 565-6472 or to visit the program web site at

The Windsor Efficiency PAYS® program is a joint effort of the Town of Windsor, Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority, and the U.S. Department of Energy. Program partners include: Sonoma County Water Agency, Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP), Climate Protection Campaign, Bottom Line Utility Solutions, Water Management, Inc., Sonoma Mountain Landscape, Niagara Conservation, Standards of Excellence, and Chilipepper Sales.

Using water bills to implement PAYS® was an idea originated by Climate Protection Campaign technical consultant Ned Orrett while working on Sonoma County’s Community Climate Action Plan in 2007. PAYS® is one of three powerful financing tools on which Sonoma County is focusing. SCEIP and Sonoma Clean Power are the other two. More information about this is available at


bio shot

Jeannie Alderson learned the value of hard work and the importance of sustaining the earth while growing up on a farm in Central California. After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, she briefly worked as a landscape designer before moving to Michigan to take advantage of the growing Information Technology industry.

Jeannie wore many hats while working for EDS and HP; programmer, technical trainer, project manager, business developer, and account manager. She had the opportunity to manage an IT contract with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources providing the DNR with a system to automate their sports licensing program. She led the account in developing new technology solutions, including e-commerce license sales, a self-service kiosk system, and providing license sales on mobile smartphones.

Throughout her career, Jeannie continually supported her local community through non-profit endeavors. She was a Loaned Executive for a United Way campaign, co-chaired a Habitat for Humanity build, and co-created and developed an all-volunteer community service organization called Women Out Working.

In 2009, Jeannie wanted to pursue a path that would combine her interests in leadership, service, and business, while impacting the triple bottom line; profit, people, and planet. She earned a Masters from the University of Denver in Environmental Policy and Management, with a concentration in Alternative Energy and Sustainability.

After way too many Michigan winters, Jeannie has now moved back to Sonoma County to take advantage of the sun; to power our buildings, fuel our cars, and extend her golf season! Jeannie will apply her educational background, business development and leadership skills, along with her government contract experience to increase the adoption of solar energy in Northern California in her new position as Program Manager for Public Sector Solutions at Gaia Energy Systems. She will be working out of our Santa Rosa office.

Recently, Sonoma County voted to offer Sonoma Clean Power to customers in the unincorporated area of the county. Now the question comes to your city! Do you want a choice about how your electrical power is generated? You won’t have a choice unless your city votes “yes.”

City councils will address Sonoma Clean Power as follows:

Sebastopol – May 7th 6:00pm

Cloverdale – May 8th 6:30pm

Rohnert Park – May 14th 5:00pm

Windsor – May 15th 5:00pm

Petaluma – May 20th 7:00pm

Santa Rosa – May 21st 4:00pm

Cotati – May 22nd 7:00pm

Sonoma – June 3rd 6:00pm

(Please check city websites for last minute changes.)

Take Action: We need to pull out all the stops now!

Our opportunity to reduce GHG emissions in Sonoma County will never be better. On our website you will find descriptions of actions to take. One important one is attending the council meeting in your city to tell council members you want a choice for Sonoma Clean Power. Read more here…

On Wednesday May 8th from 5pm-6pm, Kate Collins of Gaia Energy Systems will be participating in a Challenge Grant for the KRCB-FM public broadcasting station.  KRCB-FM reaches most of Sonoma County over the air and it is streamed worldwide on the web and can also be heard on TV – Comcast Channels 202 and 962.  Please tune in this Wednesday from 5:00 – 6:00 PM to join us in the Challenge Grant.  Here is a link to the radio station website:


SR ShowcaseFlyer2013

Santa Rosa Chamber Showcase Mixer

Wells Fargo Center for the Arts

50 Mark West Springs Rd

Santa Rosa, CA

Thursday May 9, 2013

4:00pm – 7:00pm

We are booth #41

More details about the event:

Showcase Sonoma County, the Chamber’s largest and most interactive networking event, is ramping up to once again celebrate and highlight the brightest business leaders from the most dynamic companies in Sonoma County. There will be exhibits from almost 100 fellow Sonoma County businesses — from tech, finance and manufacturing to restaurants, wineries and breweries. See the full list of exhibitors and booths here.

Attendance is free and open to everyone. Join the event on Facebook and share it with friends and colleagues.

Afterward, stay around for the Celebration After Hours Mixer from 6:00 – 8:30pm

Feeling lucky? Enter the Showcase Raffle for a chance to win some fabulous Sonoma County prizes:

First Prize

A Sonoma Wine Country Adventure Package for Two: African Safari Tour at Safari West, ziplining at Sonoma Canopy Tours, a choice of a kayaking trip or wine tasting and cycling tour with Getaway Adventures, plus two nights and three days lodging at the Flamingo Conference Resort and Spa. (Some restrictions may apply.)

Second Prize

Golf for two at The Links at Bodega Harbour including cart.

Raffle Ticket Prices

One for $10 • Three for $20

Tickets will be available online, at the Chamber offices and at the Showcase

On March 18th, San Rafael’s City Council unanimously decided to become the lead agency for a three-county group-purchasing project. The program will allow Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties in California to use their collective facilities as bargaining leverage to get discounts on solar arrays for municipal buildings and facilities. The program is run by SSC’s member Optony and their partner Solar Energy International.  Read more here…

Great news!  The Board of Supervisors voted to implement Sonoma Clean Power. This program will focus on providing a cleaner power mix for Sonoma County customers. The board’s decision means that this service will be made available to about 100,000 customers in the unincorporated areas of the county.

This is REALLY BIG NEWS and we are very excited about it at Gaia Energy Systems!

In the coming months, cities will consider joining Sonoma Clean Power and thereby give business and residential customers in their jurisdictions the choice. Depending on how many cities vote “yes,” the number of customers enrolled will increase.

CPC’s Ann Hancock along with many business and community allies spoke before the board about the importance of this program and the opportunity for our community it presents. It was standing room only!

The board also approved taking steps to arrange needed financing to get Sonoma Clean Power up and running. First Community Bank will provide the financing.

The proposed amount of renewable energy for the power mix is initially to be 33% compared with PG&E’s 19%. According to the current schedule, an electric service provider will be selected by the end of July, and Sonoma Clean Power will begin serving customers in January 2014.

Based on bids received earlier this month from 11 interested private electricity providers, rates are projected to be between 1.8% less to 1.1% more than PG&E on the residential side. For mid-sized commercial customers, rates are estimated to be 3.1% less to .5% more.

The decision yesterday is a huge milestone! We’re several steps closer to implementing the most powerful solution under local control for significantly reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

Now the focus shifts to cities. We’ll need your help to let council members know that residents and businesses want a choice! Stay tuned!