Sonora’s Energy Action Plan

Energy Efficiency

We use energy every day in our homes and offices to power our lights, appliances, heating and cooling systems, and other electronic devices. Energy efficient practices allow us to enjoy the comfort and performance of these modern conveniences while keeping our energy use, and our utility bills, low. Upgrades can make a huge difference in your energy bills. Replacing an older, energy-intensive refrigerator with an efficient EnergyStar® rated appliance or outdated compact fluorescent bulbs with highly efficient LEDs are just a couple changes that produce drastic savings. Home weatherization improvements, like changing out single-paned windows with double-paned, offer better insulation and can reduce the costs of heating or cooling your home.  There is significant energy used in the transportation and treatment of water, reducing water waste helps us conserve the limited water we have, as well as save the energy needed to deliver it.  Switching to renewable energy, energy that comes from natural resources, such as sunlight, wind, water, biomass, and geothermal activity, can also reduce energy costs.

Making your home or business more energy efficient is easier than ever before with a variety of rebate and incentive programs. The following are quick and easy ways to improve home energy efficiency:

  1. Turn off lights, computers, appliances, TV’s, etc. when they are not in use.
  2. Use energy-saving light bulbs such as Fluorescent or LED bulbs.
  3. Close window shades during the summer to preserve a cool atmosphere indoors, and keep shades open during the winter to take advantage of the sun’s warmth.
  4. Use “Smart” power strips that don’t draw phantom energy when appliances are not in use.
  5. Invest in smart HVAC systems such as programmable thermostats, and install Energy Star appliances.
  6. Weatherize your home by making sure windows, insulation, doors, etc. are up-to-date and all air leaks are sealed.
  7. Install water-saving appliances, such as low-flow faucets and shower heads and water-efficient toilets.
  8. Wash only full loads of clothes in cold water and air dry on a drying rack.
  9. Replace/clean filters to improve air flow and prevent your appliances from overworking.
  10. Insulate your water heater and plumbing system.

 Energy Action Plan

On March 5th, 2018, the City of Sonora accepted the Energy Action Plan (EAP) as the City’s roadmap for expanding energy-efficiency, renewable-energy, and the cost-savings that accompany these efforts. The EAP was prepared by Sierra Business Council, and contains a 4-year implementation action plan and get additionally assistance from the Americorps Civicspark program during the first year.


Goal 1:

Energy Efficiency

Improve Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Facilities, and City Operations
Strategy 1.1: Expand outreach and education on existing energy efficiency practices, programs, and financing options for residential and non-residential utility customers.

Strategy 1.2: Improve compliance with current California Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Title 24, Part 6) by providing informational materials when available.

Strategy 1.3: Improve the energy efficiency of City buildings, facilities, and operations.

Goal 2:

Renewable Energy

Expand the Utilization of Renewable Energy and Resilience Measures
Strategy 2.1: Prepare for the inclusion of renewable energy systems in new construction and large retrofit projects in order to meet California Zero Net Energy Goals by providing informational material when available.

Strategy 2.2: Encourage renewable energy projects through education, outreach, and local leadership.

Strategy 2.3: Encourage energy storage and grid optimization infrastructure projects that support local renewable energy systems and community resilience.

Goal 3:

Water Energy

Encourage the Efficient and Safe Transportation and Use of Water Resources
Strategy 3.1: Support Tuolumne Utilities District’s outreach and education efforts by providing information on existing and future programs.

Strategy 3.2: Encourage Tuolumne Utilities District to reduce water losses through proactive leak detection programs.

Strategy 3.3: Encourage Tuolumne Utilities District to improve the efficiency of their operations.

In 2010, the Sonora community consumed 60,306,795 kWhs of electricity and an estimated 1,903,951 gallons of propane and 1,529 cords of wood, costing an estimated $14 million through residential, non-residential, City, and public agencies. The Sonora EAP forecasts that just under $9 million can be saved and kept within the community by 2035 with a 55% reduction in electricity use, 25% reduction in propane and 18% in wood.


Energy Use2010 Baseline2035 BAU Forecast2035 Potential Energy Savings2035 Potential Cost Savings[1]Percent Difference
Electricity60,306,795 kWh69,398,808 kWh38,184,137 kWh$8,018,66955% reduction from

2035 BAU

Propane1,903,951 gallons2,115,239 gallons530,684 gallons$1,332,01825% reduction from

2035 BAU

Wood1,529 cords1,612 cords287 cords$78,99718% reduction from 2035 BAU
[1] Forecasted composite rate for 2035 of $0.21 per kWh based on SBC forecast of PG&E and TPPA Rates, 2035 average rate of $2.51 per gallon of propane based on 2010 Energy Information Agency West Coast Annual Average Retail Prices. Accessed September 22, 2017., and 2010 average of $275 per cord estimated based on local listings for soft and hardwood.

To achieve these savings, the City of Sonora EAP was developed to provide a broad view of energy use in the City, set energy and water-energy saving goals, recommend actions that result in short and long-term energy savings, and educate the community on existing resources designed to save utility customers money, energy, and water. By implementing this plan, the community could realize the following benefits:

Energy & Money Savings
Community Resiliency
Local Air Quality Improvements

Working Group

A working group has been established to help implement community actions and educational outreach of existing resources available in the community. The working group is comprised of a diverse group of stakeholders including: City of Sonora officials and staff, PG&E, Tuolumne Utility District, Tuolumne River Trust, Renewable Energy professionals, Tuolumne County Association of Realtors and community members. The working group meets every 4th Wednesday of the month from 10am to 12noon.  For information contact Tyler Summersett, Community Development Director at (209) 532-3508 or [email protected].

This page lists each chapter, case study and appendix of the EAP into separate pdfs for ease of use.

*This program is funded by California utility customers and administered by Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

 Energy Action Plan

Executive Summary

Chapter 1 – Introduction

Chapter 2 – Energy Use and Forecast

Chapter 3 – Goals and Strategies

Chapter 4 – Implementation Actions Plan

Case Study 1 – Retail LED Light Upgrade

Case Study 2 – Zero Net Energy

Case Study 3 – LEED certified



Appendix A – Sonora 2010 Baseline and 2015 Reinventory

Appendix B – Sonora Business-as-Usual Energy Use Forecast

Appendix C – Potential Energy Reduction Calculations

Appendix D – Existing Energy Efficiency Program Administrators

Appendix E – Existing Energy Efficiency Programs

Appendix F – Existing Financing Programs

 Appendix G –  Implementation Resources_Sonora EAP

Appendix H – Community Survey Results