The Huge Electric Leadership of a Small California Town

By Building Its Own Microgrid, Rural Gonzales Charts a Path to the Energy Future

If California is lucky, our energy future could look like a small town in the rural Salinas Valley.

Longtime readers of this column will not be surprised to learn that the town in question is Gonzales, the California municipal version of the Little Engine That Could. Its small, working-class population of just 9,000, many of them farmworkers, has ingeniously solved tricky local government problems, from universal broadband to health care access, and from economic planning to child development.

Now Gonzales is tackling one of our state’s most stubborn challenges: how to develop …