GRATON, Calif. — The global economic downturn should not curtail the U.S. government's commitment to addressing the problem of climate change, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Thursday.
Speaking to a gathering at the Sonoma Wine Co. in Graton, Blair said high-tech entrepreneurs and investors willing to take a risk in the clean technology sector will play a major role in developing technologies to reduce society's dependence on fossil fuels.
"Instead of losing interest in the issue or pushing it back, you actually have to take a stand," Blair said.
Blair's message – coming two days after California voters overwhelmingly defeated a ballot initiative to roll back the state's landmark climate change law – struck a chord with audience members, who attended the public unveiling of Sonoma Wine's $4 million solar co-generation plant.
Built by Mountain View-based Cogenra Solar, the project aims to significantly reduce the winery's energy costs while cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by about 120 metric tons a year, or the equivalent of the annual emissions created by 25 cars.
The project uses solar panels to generate electricity but also employs water heated by the solar system to power Sonoma Wine's wine tank and barrel washing systems.
"Our solution produces five times more energy and three times the greenhouse gas reductions over traditional solar offerings," said Gilad Almogy, Cogenra's CEO.
Sonoma Wine is a leading producer of private label wines. Its 12-acre Graton facility produces about 4 million cases of wine each year.
To read the complete article, visit www.sacbee.com.