Charting a Path for a New Energy Future for Sebastopol

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Contributed date

April 24, 2020 - 4:59pm

Critical Commentary

How do we create an adequate action plan to ensure our sustainability during times of crisis? The city of Sebastopol, California created an energy plan that any city would be smart to follow. This report was created back in 2007, but it is still relevant today and evenmore so now during this time of pandemic. The city Sebastopol was realistic in realizing that our fossil fuels were (and stil are) in short supply and there has to be an alternative source or a contingency plan in order to sustain us when that day comes where production does not meet supply demand leves. While it is reconized that there are other alternative fuel solutions, such as coal and nuclear power, they have proved not to be safe enough for long term sustainability and would require drastic lifestyle changes and destruction to the planet.  There are notable sources that are environmentally safe and sustainable but they require alot of time and effort, such as solar and wind power, hydroelectric and geothermal, as well as biodiesel, hydrogen and nuclear fission. The city of Sebastopol created a plan for its citizens to follow in order to reduce their energy usages by using these alternative energy sources, but they recongnize that it comes with its challenges. The report identifies five key vulnerabilites that they could face when dealing with fossil fuel shortages and energy sustainability which are increased direct energy costs, increased indirect energy costs, insufficient energy supplies and outages, global economic crises and disruption, and insufficient/late transition away from fossil fuels. By being aware of the vulnerabilities, the city has the opportunity to come up with a plan to reduce its exposure to risks and prepare for energy shortages, making it a smoother transition. Some step that they planned to implement were developing procedures for easily tracking city energy use and cost, aggregate city's electrical loads, contiune reducing city usage of fossile fuels eclectricity, proactively invest in additional energy technolotgies that transition away from fossil fuels, prepare for longer-term outages and emergencies, plan future city revenues in the face of these dynamic, reduce risks of impact on employee availabity and reduce risk from trash collection cost increases and pickup failures. While all of these steps are very crucial to the success of a new energy plan for a city to decrease its vulnerability, the particular step that is relevant the most right now and is an important one to be ready for is preparing for longer duration of outages and emergencies. An important part of preparing for an emergency event is making sure that citzens can survive while being prepared means being able to gauge how much energy is needed to sustain at a bare minimum and what backup options are available. That also included having an adequate water and food supply. Our energy system is vulnerable right now because of the Covid-19 pandemic causing food and water shortages and increased electricity demand, and not many local cities and towns have these protocols in place so we could be seeing many vulnerabilities in the weeks and months to come.


Charting a Path for a New Energy Future for Sebastopol. (2007). Retrieved from



Group Audience

  • - Private group -

Cite as

Patricia Dines, Ed Baumheier and Michael Kyes, "Charting a Path for a New Energy Future for Sebastopol", contributed by Quentin Gipson, The Energy Rights Project, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 24 April 2020, accessed 29 November 2022.