RCEA receives $3 million grant for rural fire station energy resilience

January 17, 2024

The Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) has been awarded a $3 million grant by the California Office of Planning & Research (OPR) under the Regional Resilience Grant Program (RRGP).

This funding will support the “Energy-Resilient Fire Services in High-Threat Communities” project, aimed at enhancing energy resilience in rural fire stations throughout Humboldt County.

RCEA’s plan for rural fire stations

The grant will enable the RCEA to construct resilient energy systems, including solar panels and batteries, at 16 rural fire stations serving areas at high risk of fires.

The primary objective is to ensure these fire stations have reliable onsite electricity during emergencies and power outages, thereby maintaining the availability of critical services.

Impact on local communities and environment

This initiative focuses on community support and environmental sustainability.

By installing solar energy and battery storage systems, local fire agencies will be able to power essential medical equipment and communication devices during emergencies.

These systems will also provide cooling during extreme heat events and air filtration during fire seasons.

Moreover, the shift to onsite renewable energy systems will reduce power bills during normal operations and minimize reliance on fossil-fuel generators during outages.

Collaborative effort and training

RCEA’s project is a collaborative effort, involving multiple partners including the Yurok Tribe Volunteer Fire Department, Hoopa Tribe Volunteer Fire Department, Karuk Department of Natural Resources, and several local volunteer fire departments and fire protection districts.

Additionally, the grant funds will support ongoing prescribed burn training provided by the University of California Cooperative Extension in partnership with the Humboldt County Prescribed Burn Association.

About RCEA

Established in 2003, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority is a joint powers agency comprising local governments and tribes in Humboldt County.

RCEA’s mission is to develop and implement sustainable energy initiatives to reduce energy demand, increase energy efficiency, and promote the use of clean, efficient, and renewable resources in the region.

FSJA Comment

The RCEA’s recent grant award represents a significant step forward in enhancing the resilience of rural fire stations in Humboldt County.

This initiative stands out for its dual focus on emergency preparedness and environmental sustainability.

The installation of solar panels and battery storage systems at 16 fire stations will ensure the availability of critical services during emergencies and contribute to the broader goal of reducing carbon emissions and promoting renewable energy sources.

This project exemplifies a proactive approach to climate resilience and emergency preparedness, highlighting the importance of integrating sustainable practices in public safety infrastructure.

It also demonstrates the power of collaboration among local government agencies, tribal communities, and non-profit organizations in addressing shared challenges and working towards common goals.

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