Keene Becomes Fifth
New Hampshire Municipality
Committed to 100 Percent
Clean, Renewable Energy
City Council approves measure to convert
the city entirely to renewable energy, joining
Concord, Cornish, Hanover, and Plainfield
On January 17, 2019, the City Council of Keene, New Hampshire voted 14-1 to establish a goal of transitioning the city to 100 percent clean and renewable energy. Keene joins the communities of Concord, Cornish, Hanover, and Plainfield to become the fifth municipality in the state to establish the goal.
The resolution adopts a goal of using 100 percent renewable energy for electricity by 2030 and for all sectors, including heat and transportation, by 2050. Keene is the 104th city in the United States to commit to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy. A full copy of the resolution can be read at http://bit.ly/KeeneRenewableEnergyResolution.
Through numerous efficiency measures implemented over the past 20 years, the City of Keene reduced emissions from municipal operations by 25 percent, while cutting operating costs significantly. Homes and businesses can often reduce their energy needs 20-30 percent through weatherization and other efficiency measures.
Already many area businesses and homes are powered with clean energy through competitive electricity suppliers. The Monadnock Food Co-op’s solar panels generate 50,000 kilowatt hours per year. Keene State College, the Savings Bank of Walpole, Target, MOCO, and the Keene Unitarian Universalist Church are all generating solar energy. The City has just installed a 662-kilowatt solar array on the Police and Public Works facility on Marlboro Street. This will bring the community’s total solar generation to over 2 megawatts.
Since the resolution was introduced, leaders from business, education, faith, nonprofit and other sectors have voiced their support for the 100 percent renewable goal, including Keene State College and Filtrine Manufacturing Company.
Existing and emerging technologies make the 100 percent renewable energy goal achievable and offer economic benefits and opportunities.
New Hampshire obtains more of its electricity generation from wind power than from coal-fired power plants, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a trend that could expand greatly with offshore wind.
Renewables are the fastest growing energy source in the United States, comprising 67 percent of new electric generation capacity installed in 2016, and clean energy jobs are the fastest growing job sector.
“The Clean Energy Team is excited, grateful, and proud to see the city pass this resolution. For several years, we have worked hard building relationships, learning and researching resources that can help us achieve energy efficiency with 100 percent renewable, affordable energy goals for everyone in the Keene community. Now, working in collaboration with the city and many of our supporters, (during the next two years) we will continue doing community outreach, offer educational events, share stories and help others realize how we all may reach these sustainable, renewable energy goals,” said Nancy Gillard of the Clean Energy Team.
“We see a huge increase in environmental awareness of our applicants,” said Steve Silverstein, president of Tree Free Greetings. Tree Free is currently hiring and anticipates doubling its workforce in the next five years. “Young families and workers may resonate with our business, but they must also resonate with the values and opportunities in our community. They ask themselves — does Keene represent us? It would be a huge real and symbolic selling point if we can tell prospective employees that Keene is at the forefront of renewable energy.”
“The transition to clean energy is happening. I want to do what I can to accelerate it because I am concerned about climate change and the world my grandchildren will live in,” said Julie Dickson, a Keene resident, on behalf of her two grandchildren, ages 1 and 6.
“In the Monadnock Region, where we are thoughtful and collaborative about our future, change is happening… This can be an important element of our brand as a city, a region, a state,” said Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce CEO Phil Suter in a statement to City Council, citing the many area businesses that support renewable energy.
Other municipalities and states have demonstrated that increasingly-affordable battery storage can lower peak demand charges for utility customers. Using a distributed battery network, Green Mountain Power is saving Vermont customers money — $600,000 was saved by using stored power during a heat spike in August, for example.
To learn more visit: cleanenergykeene.org.
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