HAF+WRCF’s $7,200 strategy grant supports Redwood Coast Energy Authority’s education and outreach efforts

Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) has received a $7,200 strategy grant from HAF+WRCF to encourage local students to enter the renewable energy field via tours of a solar energy microgrid operation at the California Redwood Coast-Humboldt County Airport.

“The grant will help further our goal of growing emerging professionals who lack the opportunity to study renewable energy, their impacts on surrounding ecosystems, and potential for integrated management strategies such as multi-use agricultural and renewable energy industries.” said RCEA Program Specialist Marianne Bithell. “Hands-on activities and site visits encourage students to enter the clean energy sector, and we have a good relationship with Cal Poly Humboldt at our facility.”

The Redwood Coast Airport Microgrid is California’s first 100 percent renewable energy, front-of-the meter, multi-customer microgrid. Energy generated by the grid is sold into the California energy market and directly supplies the airport and U.S. Coast Guard facilities with electricity. RCEA is responsible for maintaining the equipment and grounds.

One of RCEA’s goals, Bithell said, is to develop an agrivoltaic project to assist with operations and maintenance for the life of the microgrid. There is a great opportunity for this site to become a local educational resource for emerging dual land use concepts. Another future opportunity may be a research project to help restore three acres of land to an original prairie ecosystem. The HAF+WRCF grant will fund several student tours and allow the Cal Poly Humboldt Rangeland project to happen this year, she said.

HAF+WRCF’s strategy grant program, funded by its generous donors, is designed to assist groups and projects in Humboldt, Del Norte, Curry, and Trinity counties that focus on promoting a thriving, just, healthy, and equitable region.

“This grant will help support small scale, hyper-localized energy generation and storage in support of crucial air transportation and the United States Coast Guard,” said HAF+WRCF Program Officer Rachel Montgomery. “This grant will also support research, educational and workforce development opportunities for local university and community college students and researchers in the fields of solar energy engineering, agriculture and prairie restoration within a model that offers unique co-benefits for multiple sectors.”

More information about RCEA’s airport microgrid can be found at redwoodenergy.org/rcam. Learn more about HAF+WRCF’s Strategy Grants via email grants@hafoundation.org or call 707-442-2993.

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