The Humboldt County Renewable Energy Secure Community (RESCO) study is off to a strong start. We began the project in November of 2009 and since that time we have developed a single-node electricity dispatch model, gathered data on local renewable energy resources and local electricity demand, researched energy storage technologies, worked with NREL to obtain and customize economic impact assessment models, and collected renewable energy cost data. Using our dispatch model we have examined some preliminary scenarios for renewable energy development in Humboldt County. The figure below shows the output from our model for one such scenario for the month of December. In this particular case, renewable resources, primarily in the form of biomass, wind, and wave power, supply 86% of the electricity demand for the month.
We are early on in our research and there are still a lot of complicated issues we need to tackle. To help us in our efforts we just held our first Professional Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting. We had fourteen participants, including seven people who participated remotely via phone and web conference. The feedback we received from our PAC was positive and helpful, and it will improve the quality of our study by helping us make sure our results are both realistic and relevant. This will be critical in developing a strategic plan that actually gets implemented. After all, our ultimate success in this effort will not be judged based on the quality of our final report, but instead by the megawatts of new capacity of renewable energy generation that is actually brought on-line in Humboldt County.