In the beginning, Ann Hancock drove the movement that led to the creation of Sonoma Clean Power.
A Bay Area native and resident of Graton, Hancock, 70, has worked in various capacities as teacher, planner and real estate broker, but for decades she has also been a leader in the drive to create a sustainable world.
Since 2001 when she co-founded the nonprofit Climate Protection Campaign in Graton, now the Center for Climate Protection in Santa Rosa, Hancock has focused with laser intensity on global warming.
In May 2005 she convened a workshop in Santa Rosa of community representatives which recommended that Sonoma County and its cities adopt a goal to reduce annual emissions 25 percent below 1990 greenhouse gas levels by 2015. The county and all of its cities adopted the goal that year.
To achieve this goal, she put together a team, including investors, to produce the Sonoma County Community Climate Action Plan. The top finding of the plan, issued in 2008, was that creating a community choice agency, which would buy electricity for its community, was the most powerful financing tool that Sonoma County could adopt to reduce its emissions.
In 2011 she and supporters convinced the board of the Sonoma County Water Agency, which is also the Board of Supervisors of Sonoma County, to analyze the potential for a community choice agency in Sonoma County and then to supply the interim manpower and financing to make it happen.
Once the creation of Sonoma Clean power was underway, she and her team moved on to work in other communities.
“We decided the most powerful action we could take to fulfill our mission was to accelerate the spread of community choice energy programs in California,” Hancock said.
She and her team launched Clean Power Exchange, initially focusing on Silicon Valley, which now has three community choice agencies. Their current focus is on spreading community choice to the Central Valley.
Today the Center for Climate Protection is a state leader in multiple initiatives to stop global warming, with revenue of $1.3 million from grants, contracts, individual donations and business sponsorships. This year Sonoma Clean Power contributed $20,000.