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SPARC Forum
Seeking YOUR Input on San Bernardino County's Renewable Energy Future
The San Bernardino County Partnership for Renewable Energy & Conservation (SPARC) is creating a Renewable Energy Element for the General Plan and there are many ways you can participate! Provide input via our open forum topics, learn more about the project and join us at one of the upcoming events.

Comments, questions, suggestions?  Email County Staff

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Check out some recent announcements

April 17, 2017, 2:08 PM

Renewable Energy Updates Transferring to San Bernardino County’s Land Use Services Renewable Energy Webpage

Communication regarding San Bernardino County’s Renewable Energy and Conservation Element is transferring from SparcForum.org to the County’s Land Use Services Department “Renewable Energy” webpage.  Per its Privacy Policy, Peak Democracy does not share email addresses, so if you wish to continue receiving announcements related to renewable energy planning and implementation within San Bernardino County, you will need to sign up for these announcements on the Land Use Services website. 

For a time, the SparcForum.org portal will remain available for access to the Renewable Energy and Conservation Element’s background information and Resource Library.

For those wishing to continue to receive renewable energy information and updates, please ensure you are signed-up via the following link:

http://cms.sbcounty.gov/lus/Planning/RenewableEnergy.aspx

Questions/comments may be sent directly to Linda.Mawby@lus.sbcounty.gov.

Thank you for your interest in and contributions to our community forum!

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December 9, 2016, 9:05 AM

The Interstate Renwable Energy Council (IREC), in combination with the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC), is hosting a free Webinar entitled "Tools You Can Use for Community Solar".  It will take place on December 15, 2016 from 12:00 to 1:15 pm PST.

This is a great opportunity to learn more about available tools and resources surrounding the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative's “Solar in Your Community Challenge”.  The Challenge aims to make solar more accessible and inclusive for every American.

According to IREC, the webinar will provide an overview of a newly created Community Solar Toolkit, as well as some case studies featuring innovative tools and approaches to advance community solar projects and programs across diverse markets. There will be ample time for Q&A. 

To REGISTER

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November 21, 2016, 9:06 AM

The federally sponsored SunShot Initiative has launched a new prize competition that aims to expand solar access to all Americans, especially to communities that have been left out of the solar boom. The Solar in Your Community Challenge, informed by our work with the National Community Solar Partnership, aims to spur the development of new and innovative financial and business models that serve non-rooftop solar users and low- and moderate-income communities.

The Challenge offers $5 million in cash prizes and technical assistance to teams across the country to develop projects or programs that expand solar access to underserved groups, while proving that these business models can be widely replicated and adopted by similar groups. The competition is open to two different tracks:

  • Teams working to develop a portfolio of solar projects in their communities or create new solar programs that extend solar access to low- and moderate-income households and nonprofits; and
  • Experts (consultants and coaches) that assist teams throughout the 18-month challenge by providing the coaching and resources teams need to create innovative new business models.

The Challenge will be conducted over the course of 18 months, with multiple opportunities throughout to earn prizes. Learn more about the Solar in Your Community Challenge, register for a webinar about the Challenge on November 29, and apply today to spur solar in your community or provide technical assistance to help others create solar programs!

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October 21, 2016, 4:22 PM

BACKGROUND:

The Draft Renewable Energy and Conservation Element (REC Element) is a new General Plan Element designed to clarify the County’s collective community, environmental, and economic values for renewable energy (RE) development. The REC Element’s goals and policies will guide future renewable energy development and energy conservation, and establish a framework for implementation by County Development Code regulations.    

DATE AND TIME OF HEARING:

Thursday, November 3, 2016 9:00 a.m.

PLACE OF HEARING: 

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY GOVERNMENT CENTER Covington Chambers on the First Floor 385 North Arrowhead Avenue - [Between 3rd and 5th Streets] San Bernardino, CA 92415

Remote Video Conferencing:

  • Jerry Lewis High Desert Government Center
  • 15900 Smoke Tree Street Hesperia, CA 92345
  • Bob Burke Joshua Tree County Government Center
  • 63665 Twentynine Palms Highway Joshua Tree, CA 92552

Interested persons may submit comments or questions in writing prior to the meeting or appear in person and be heard. Due to time constraints and the number of persons wishing to give oral testimony, time restrictions may be placed on oral testimony. You may wish to make your comments in writing to assure that you are able to express yourself adequately.

Related discussion materials may be viewed beginning Saturday October 29, 2016 on the Land Use Services Department Planning Division website online at: http://cms.sbcounty.gov/lus/Planning/PlanningCommission/Agenda.aspx or at the County Government Center, Land Use Services Department, 385 N. Arrowhead Ave., First Floor, San Bernardino, CA from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. If review is desired in person, staff requests you call the department at (909) 387-8311 to set up a time to review the materials.

The Planning Commission, in their deliberation, will review the proposal and will make their recommendation to the Board of Supervisors for final action. If you challenge any decision regarding the above proposal in court, you may be limited to raising only those issues you or someone else raised at the public hearing described in this notice or in written correspondence delivered to the Planning Commission at, or prior to, the public hearing.

Questions may be directed to:

Linda Mawby, Senior Planner

  • Linda.Mawby@lus.sbcounty.gov
  • Phone: 909-387-4002
  • Land Use Services Department
  • 385 North Arrowhead Avenue First Floor
  • San Bernardino, CA 92415-0187

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September 13, 2016, 5:02 PM

By popular request, the SPARC Forum discussion of the Draft Renewable Energy and Conservation Element has been reopened with no deadline for comments. 

REC Element comments, as always, may also be submitted directly to the County via email  Linda.Mawby@lus.sbcounty.gov. or letter:

San Bernardino County Government Center

Attention: Linda Mawby

385 N Arrowhead Avenue, First Floor  San Bernardino, CA  92415-0187

The minimum 60-day comment period on the Draft REC Element announced on August 4th has not changed.  The Planning Commission hearing notice will be posted on SPARC Forum and on the County Web site.

Thank you for your continued interest in our REC Element!

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September 6, 2016, 3:35 PM

San Bernardino County has developed the draft Renewable Energy and Conservation Element and we want to hear from you about the specific goals and the plan over all. There are just two more days to comment! Please comment by 11:59 pm on September 8th.

You can comment on the element generally, or on any or all of the following goals:

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August 12, 2016, 4:49 PM

San Bernardino County has developed the draft Renewable Energy and Conservation Element and we want to hear from you about the specific goals and the plan over all.

You can comment on the element generally, or on any or all of the following goals:

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August 9, 2016, 2:57 PM

A PowerPoint and audio recording of the Planning Commission Workshop introducing the Renewable Energy and Conservation Element (REC Element) is now available in our SPARCForum Resource Library and via the following links:

http://www.sbcounty.gov/uploads/LUS/SPARC/PCWorkshop0804.pptx

http://www.sbcounty.gov/uploads/LUS/SPARC/PC0804.mp3

Watch for an upcoming announcement on the addition of Forum questions to provide feedback on the REC Element!

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July 28, 2016, 9:12 PM

The Draft Renewable Energy and Conservation Element will be presented to the San Bernardino County Planning Commission at a Study Session Workshop to be held August 4, 2016 from 9 am to 11 am.  The Workshop is designed  to provide an introduction of the Draft REC Element and to initiate a public review period of at least 60 days. The meeting purpose is for discussion and information-exchange only.  No action by the Commission will be recommended.

PLACE OF WORKSHOP:  County of San Bernardino Government Center Covington Chambers- First Flr, 

                                            385 North Arrowhead Ave, San Bernardino, CA  92415

Remote Video Conferencing will be available:

Jerry Lewis High Desert Government Center  15900 Smoke Tree Street, Hesperia, CA  92345

Bob Burke Joshua Tree County Gov. Center   63665 Twentynine Palms Hwy, Joshua Tree, CA  92552

To access the REC Element http://cms.sbcounty.gov/lus/Planning/PlanningCommission/Agenda.aspx

A key supportive document used to help inform the REC Element’s policies is the REVEAL Initiative Report, prepared by Aspen Environmental Group under direction of County Planning staff over the past year. This document is available via the following link:  http://www.sbcounty.gov/uploads/LUS/SPARC/REVEALFinalInitiativeReport.pdf

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July 22, 2016, 3:43 PM

The following program represents a great opportunity to assist in establishing a community-oriented solar project that brings direct benefit to your community. 

The U.S. Department of Energy is looking for input on an upcoming SunShot community solar competition. 

“The SunShot Initiative is soliciting feedback on a prize challenge structure wherein hundreds of local teams would participate by bringing community solar programs and projects to their communities. The goal of the challenge is to enable the expansion of the solar market to a diverse array of new consumers, including low- and moderate-income customers, and nonprofit community-serving organizations. Competing teams will be eligible for cash prizes and technical assistance from the Department of Energy and other experts nationwide. As a result of this challenge, teams will build local capacity around the legal, technical, financial, and administrative aspects of community solar programs and projects, and solar access will expand to new people across the country.”

Specifics of the competition can be accessed through the link below.  Input is due to DOE by August 2, 2016.  The competition will be released sometime in the fall.

http://energy.gov/eere/sunshot/request-information-community-solar-challenge

If you have ideas, please share and get involved! 

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April 27, 2016, 5:45 PM

Reminder ...County Webinar on Implementation Tools for Community-Oriented Renewable Energy - April 28, 2016   11 am to Noon

San Bernardino County Renewable Energy and Conservation Element

San Bernardino County Partnership for Renewable Energy and Conservation or SPARC

The County of San Bernardino is continuing progress on its General Plan Renewable Energy and Conservation Element.  SPARC Phase 1 ended with a policy Framework for the Element.  SPARC Phase 2 will culminate in a report assessing the economic, environmental, and social benefits and costs of renewable energy generation within the County.  Since January 2016, ten Stakeholder interviews have been conducted, two Policy Focus Groups were held, and five Community Outreach Meetings were hosted in various locations throughout the County.  Much valuable information has been received to-date .  

Community Outreach will continue through the provision of a web-oriented “town hall-type” meeting, whose goal is to further explain and explore the potential tools available for implementing community-oriented renewable energy projects. Tool categories include: Organizational, Local Systems, Educational, Regulatory, and Funding.

          Outreach Webinar for SPARC Phase 2

          Explore the potential tools available for implementing community-oriented renewable energy projects.

          Thursday, April 28, 2016 from 11 am to Noon PDT

          Registration is available via the following link:

          https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6769895776264668673

If you have trouble accessing the Webinar due to computer system constraints, viewing will be available at the High Desert Government Center, 15900 Smoke Tree Street, Hesperia, CA  92345, Room 122.  Check in at the front counter for an access badge. Ask for John Oquendo, Senior Planner (760) 995-8153

We look forward to your participation!

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April 13, 2016, 4:47 PM

News Update!

San Bernardino County Renewable Energy and Conservation Element

San Bernardino County Partnership for Renewable Energy and Conservation or SPARC

The County of San Bernardino is continuing progress on its General Plan Renewable Energy and Conservation Element.  SPARC Phase 1 ended with a policy Framework for the Element.  SPARC Phase 2 will culminate in a report assessing the economic, environmental, and social benefits and costs of renewable energy generation within the County.  Since January 2016, ten Stakeholder interviews have been conducted, two Policy Focus Groups were held, and five Community Outreach Meetings were hosted in various locations throughout the County.  Much valuable information has been received to-date .  

Community Outreach will continue through the provision of a web-oriented “town hall-type” meeting, whose goal is to further explain and explore the potential tools available for implementing community-oriented renewable energy projects. Tool categories include: Organizational, Neighborhood/Community Systems, Educational, Regulatory, and Funding.

          Outreach Webinar for SPARC Phase 2

          Explore the potential tools available for implementing community-oriented renewable energy projects.

          Thursday, April 28, 2016 from 11 am to Noon PDT

          Registration is available via the following link:

          https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6769895776264668673

We look forward to your participation!

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March 10, 2016, 1:44 PM

Thank you for your past interest in Renewable Energy policy for the County of San Bernardino! 

SPARC Phase 2 is underway, and new opportunities for participation in guiding the County’s Renewable Energy and Conservation Element are available. New questions options have been posted on SPARCForum. Please take a moment to share your views.

These same questions will be discussed at the five Community Outreach Meetings scheduled in various locations throughout the County on March 15th through 17th. Locations and times here.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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December 15, 2015, 3:30 PM

On October 20, 2015, the County Board of Supervisors entered into a contract with Aspen Environmental Group to provide a Renewable Energy Cost, Benefits and Cost Recovery Study to provide supportive technical information as a foundation for future policy recommendations.  The Study, a key component of SPARC Phase 2, will also incorporate comprehensive research of renewable energy trends and value-added benefits to further provide a foundational framework for policy directives.

The Aspen Team brings the following skills to SPARC Phase 2

  • A strong economic and scientific research team with experience in the field of renewable energy (RE) technology to provide a quantitative analysis of applicable RE costs and benefits.
  • A broad perspective and understanding of the opportunities and constraints created by State RE policy directives and their effects on federal, State, and local government control of private lands.
  • Experience with the complex issues and conflicting goals facing the County as it moves toward establishing RE policy directives, and the ability to be impartial in its assessments.
  • Understanding of the RE industry and the technical challenges faced by both utility companies and private investment in attempting to implement these directives.

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February 25, 2015, 11:06 PM

The Land Use Services Department will continue to solicit public input on the future of renewable energy development throughout the County’s unincorporated areas during a special listening session from 2 to 4 p.m. on March 5.

For the last several months, the San Bernardino County Partnership for Renewable Energy and Conservation (SPARC) has held 10 public meetings and events to encourage people to set a Renewable Energy Element Framework for the County’s General Plan. The County seeks to strengthen its policies and regulatory system to manage renewable energy development while protecting our environment, communities, residents and economy.

The listening session will begin with a short overview of the County’s planning progress and priorities from Planning Director Terri Rahhal, followed by public comments on the Element Framework.

The Element Framework can be found online at www.sbcounty.gov/main/renewable.pdf.

The listening session serves as the third round of public exchange on the County General Plan Renewable Energy Element process. The Element Framework is also available for viewing on SPARCForum.  After the Listening Session, SPARCForum will be set up to receive additional comments on the Element Framework. In addition, written comments may be sent at any time to Michelle.McCoy@lus.sbcounty.gov. 

The March 5 listening session will be conducted at:

Covington Chambers County Government Center, First Floor 385 N. Arrowhead Ave., San Bernardino

During the session, the public can participate via videoconferencing at:

• Jerry Lewis High Desert Government Center 15900 Smoke Tree Street, Hesperia

• Bob Burke Joshua Tree Government Center 63665 Twentynine Palms Highway, Joshua Tree

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February 5, 2015, 2:43 PM

The renewable energy policy initiative (SPARC) listening session originally scheduled for February 19, 2015 from 2-4 p.m. is being rescheduled to March 5, 2015 from 2-4 p.m., due to requests for additional time from community organizations. 

Many community organizations are preparing comments for the State of California’s Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) which is currently under public review. DRECP comments are due by February 23,  2015.

Unlike the DRECP, the County General Plan Renewable Energy Element is a County government project that would balance desert conservation with renewable energy development within the unincorporated areas of San Bernardino County not owned by the state or federal government.

The listening session will focus on plans for the County General Plan Renewable Energy Element and will be held in the Board of Supervisors Covington Chambers in San Bernardino, with opportunities for videoconference testimony from both the High Desert (Hesperia) and Joshua Tree county government centers. The session will begin with an overview of the County’s planning progress and priorities from County Planning Director Terri Rahhal, followed by public comments on the Element Framework and Outline.

The listening session will be the third round of public exchange on the County General Plan Renewable Energy Element process. Additional public workshops will follow in the spring.

The March 5th listening session will be conducted at:

Covington Chambers County Government Center, First Floor 385 N. Arrowhead Ave., San Bernardino

During the meetings, the public can participate via videoconferencing at:

Jerry Lewis High Desert Government Center 15900 Smoke Tree Street, Hesperia

Bob Burke Joshua Tree Government Center 63665 Twentynine Palms Highway, Joshua Tree

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February 4, 2015, 4:07 PM

Land Use staff will conduct a listening session on plans for the County General Plan renewable energy element on February 19, 2015, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors Covington Chambers in San Bernardino, with opportunities for videoconference testimony from both the Hesperia and Joshua Tree county government centers. This session will begin with an overview of the County’s planning progress and priorities from County Planning Director Terri Rahhal. The listening session will be the third round of public exchange on the County General Plan renewable energy element process (SPARC). Additional public workshops will follow in the spring.

The February 19 listening session will be conducted at:

  • Covington Chambers County Government Center, First Floor 385 N. Arrowhead Ave., San Bernardino

During the meetings, the public can participate via videoconferencing at:

  • Jerry Lewis High Desert Government Center 15900 Smoke Tree Street, Hesperia  
  • Bob Burke Joshua Tree Government Center 63665 Twentynine Palms Highway, Joshua Tree

Please check in with SPARCforum.org for updates on listening session materials.

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November 25, 2014, 4:06 PM

Dear SPARC Stakeholder,

The 2nd Round of public outreach for the San Bernardino County Partnership for Renewable Energy and Conservation (SPARC) attracted over 300 participants. They attended public workshops and contributed to online topics at SPARCForum.org.  If you would like to read about what we heard in Yucca Valley, Barstow, Big Bear, Hesperia, and San Bernardino please go to Discoveries to Date on SPARCForum. Please contact SPARC Project Manager, Siri Champion, or LUS Communication Coordinator Michelle McCoy at (909) 252-5105 if you have questions or comments about the Renewable Energy and Conservation Element.

We hope to see you at our 3rd Round of public meetings, tentatively scheduled for January 2015.

 

Many thanks,

The SPARCForum Team

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October 7, 2014, 2:25 PM

Hello SPARCForum Participant,

You are invited to tell the County how you describe distributed energy generation. We encourage you to use SPARCForum to express your opinion on this and other topics important to the San Bernardino County Renewable Energy and Conservation Element. Please share this message with your family, friends, and colleauges and encourage them to comment as well. Thank you for participating!

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September 25, 2014, 4:53 PM

Hello SPARCForum Participant,  

You’re invited to tell the County how you define a small-scale renewable energy project by participating on SPARC Forum. You are encouraged to use SPARCForum to express your opinion for others to read and to read what others are saying. Please share this message with your family, friends, and colleauges and encourage them to comment as well.

Thank you for participating!

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August 20, 2014, 5:19 PM

Round 2 Public Workshops

  • Yucca Valley - August 21, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
    • Community Center, Yucca Room (57090 Twentynine Palms Highway, Yucca Valley, CA 92284)​
  • Big Bear Lake - August 25, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
    • Big Bear Fire Department #281 (41090 Big Bear Boulevard, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315)
  • Barstow - August 26, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
    • First Baptist Church (1320 Barstow Road, Barstow, CA 92311)
  • Hesperia - August 28, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
    • Hesperia Library (9650 Seventh Avenue, Hesperia, CA 92345)
  • San Bernardino - August 29, 10:00 a.m. - Noon 
    • Covington Chambers, County Government Center (385 N. Arrowhead Avenue, San Bernardino, CA 92415)

Results from past events

April 2014: Barstow, Big Bear Lake, Hesperia, San Bernardino, Yucca Valley

To learn more about the County of San Bernardino's renewable energy and conservation plan click the link to read more.

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August 5, 2014, 5:17 PM

San Bernardino County is creating a plan for renewable energy and wants to hear your thoughts!  Many of you participated in round one of public workshops and now it is time for round two. Read what others are saying, share your own ideas now at www.SPARCForum.org, and plan to participate at one of the upcoming meetings.

In August, the County is hosting a second round of workshops where you can learn more about renewable energy. In addition, participants will be asked to share thoughts on the draft vision and goals that will guide development of the County’s Renewable Energy Element. Find the workshop closest to you:

Yucca Valley – August 21, 6:00-8:00 PM Community Center, Yucca Room (57090 Twentynine Palms Highway, Yucca Valley, CA 92284)

Big Bear Lake – August 25, 6:00-8:00 PM Big Bear Fire Department #281 (41090 Big Bear Boulevard, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315)

Barstow – August 26, 6:00-8:00 PM First Baptist Church (1320 Barstow Road, Barstow, CA 92311)

Hesperia – August 28, 6:00-8:00 PM Hesperia Library (9650 Seventh Avenue, Hesperia, CA 92345)

San Bernardino – August 29, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM Covington Chambers, County Government Center (385 N. Arrowhead Avenue, San Bernardino, CA 92415)

More about SPARC The San Bernardino County Partnership for Renewable Energy and Conservation (SPARC) will provide a framework for renewable energy development while protecting communities and natural resources. Community input will help shape the drafting of a County General Plan Renewable Energy Element for consideration by the Board of Supervisors.

Questions? Visit www.SPARCForum.org or contact the County Land Use Services Department at (909) 252-5105.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts on this important topic! Please also share this message with your neighbors, co-workers, and friends.

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August 4, 2014, 10:25 AM

Dear SPARCForum Stakeholder,

Tomorrow, Tuesday, August 5, 2014, the California Energy Commission is hosting a renewable energy workshop. The workshop will focus on the use of environmental information in renewable energy planning. The California Energy Commission has made arrangements for stakeholders to participate by computer or phone via WebEx. For more information, follow this link.

Please note, this workshop is not part of the County of San Bernardino’s Renewable Energy and Conservation (SPARC) project. County staff will participate in the CEC workshop. SPARC stakeholders interested in the use of environmental information in renewable energy planning are encouraged to participate.

Sincerely,

The SPARCForum Team

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July 21, 2014, 4:05 PM

Dear SPARC Stakeholder,

To those of you who have contributed on SPARCForum.org, thank you! To those of you who contributed at our first round of public workshops, thanks to you as well! To those of you who are new to the County’s Renewable Energy and Conservation Element project, welcome!

In April and May, the County hosted the initial phase of public outreach for SPARC. The initial phase included online activities and public workshops, which involved over 200 participants. Through one or both of these outreach activities, public stakeholders expressed their preferences and concerns about renewable energy development. Public responses gravitated around four themes:

  • Renewable energy development is preferred on disturbed lands.
  • Small-scale distributed generation wind and solar projects are preferred over utility-scale projects.
  • Environment and wildlife are valuable resources that should be carefully considered.
  • Clear and transparent communication about renewable energy projects is important to achieving desired outcomes.

These four themes emerged from the responses of many people. To view individual feedback and overall outcomes please visit:

Phase 1: Survey

Phase 2: Renewable Energy Technologies

Phase 2: Evaluation Criteria

Phase 2: Renewable Energy Comments

Phase 2: Community Priorities

What Now?

  • Respond to the latest discussion topic: What have you done or considered doing with solar or wind resources to meet your business or residential energy needs?  Click here to read what others are saying and share your own thoughts.
  • Plan to attend a workshop: The second round of public workshops are tentatively scheduled for the end of August 2014 in San Bernardino, Big Bear Valley, Yucca Valley, Hesperia, and Barstow. Please watch your email for more information about these workshops.
  • Learn: At the SPARCForum Resource Library, there are many articles and other resources to learn about renewable energy.
  • Share information: Submit articles to be added to the SPARCForum Resource Library by emailing Michelle Mccoy at Michelle.McCoy@lus.sbcounty.gov.
  • Spread the word: 200 people have been involved, but there is room for many more. Please encourage others to participate by forwarding this message to others.

Thank you for participating in this important project. We look forward to hearing from you on SPARCForum.org or at the next round of public workshops.

Sincerely,

The SPARCForum Team

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May 30, 2014, 11:09 PM

Dear SPARC Forum Participant,

Thank you for your early and enthusiastic interest in SPARC, the County’s effort to draft a Renewable Energy and Conservation Element for the General Plan! Wednesday June 4 will conclude online opportunities to provide input on best practices, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for renewable energy development in San Bernardino County. At that point, we will move from Phases 1 and 2 of the project into Phase 3. New opportunities to contribute feedback both online and in-person will become available towards the end of Summer 2014.

If you have not already shared your thoughts online, please do so before 5 PM on Wednesday, June 4th.

A summary report of public input collected during Phases 1 and 2 will be posted on SPARCForum.org shortly after the current online activities are closed. Another email will be sent when the summary report is available.

Thank you, again, for your support of this important project!

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