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Rob Werner: Concord should lead on clean energy



For the Monitor
Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Concord City Council has an opportunity to embrace a vision for a clean energy future this month, as a resolution calling for the adoption of a goal for our community to generate 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 will be considered at the Monday council meeting.

I urge my colleagues to join me in support of this ambitious and important goal.

The energy projects that will result from the endorsement of this goal will provide economic and environmental benefits to Concord residents, saving taxpayers money as the city is able to better control energy costs as we do our part to reduce the carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.

The commitment to a 100 percent renewable energy future includes all energy generation with the community and is not confined to municipal operations only.

Concord city government has already made significant progress in pursuing sustainable energy practices, implementing energy efficiency efforts in city buildings, installing more efficient LED lighting for streetlights, installing solar thermal panels at fire stations and purchasing Renewable Energy Credits from Midwest wind energy producers.

Adopting a goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 will initiate the development of a strategic plan that will build upon these efforts and identify specific projects and strategies to implement moving toward renewable energy generation in all sectors – electricity, heating and cooling, and transportation.

A stakeholder committee will be established as part of this process to provide an opportunity for input from a wide variety of perspectives.

Concord residents will be invited to participate in the development of the strategic plan though a series of public input sessions in all areas of the city.

The benefits of communities moving toward 100 percent renewable energy include enhanced economic development and job creation opportunities through the adoption of clean energy sources, a better ability to predict and control energy costs, and improvements in human health as a result of reductions in carbon pollution.

As the state capitol of New Hampshire, Concord should continue to take a strong leadership role in moving toward a clean energy future, providing greater control over our energy destiny and driving the economic benefits.

Concord Mayor Jim Bouley has signed the mayors’ climate agreement to uphold the goals of the Paris climate agreement, joining over 400 mayors around the nation that are committing to local action to meet the challenges of climate change through supporting policies to move their communities toward a renewable energy future. Cities are leading the way, as more than 60 municipalities across the nation have committed to the 100 percent renewable energy goal, with some already achieving 100 percent renewable generation of electricity.

Setting this ambitious aspirational goal for our community is a mark of leadership, and one that has the wide support of citizens.

Concord residents have an opportunity to raise their voices in support of the 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 resolution by attending the city council meeting on Monday and speaking in favor of this important effort.

Please join us in support of a clean energy future.

(Rob Werner is a Concord city councilor and chair of the Concord Energy and Environment Committee.)