The draft resolution calls for the City of Keene to develop a strategic plan by April 2020 to meet the renewable energy goal “through a transparent and inclusive stakeholder process.” That process will facilitate broad dialogue, both within the community and drawing on the experience of other communities to develop realistic steps to achieve the 100% goal.
Existing and emerging technologies make the 100% renewable energy goal achievable and offer economic benefits and opportunities.
- Energy efficiency – As Bob King of Ashuelot River Hydro reminded Keene at the Sept. 8 rally for Climate Jobs and Justice, “The cheapest energy is the energy you don’t use.” Through numerous efficiency measures implemented over the past 20 years, the City of Keene decreased emissions from municipal operations by 25% while cutting operating costs significantly. Homes and businesses can often reduce their energy needs 20-30% through weatherization and other efficiency measures.
- Locally produced renewable – 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 is installing a 660-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.
- Lowering costs with energy storage – 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.
- Wind power and beyond – New Hampshire obtains more of its electricity generation from wind power than from coal-fired power plants, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration, a trend that could expand greatly with offshore wind.
- Innovation over time – The plan we will develop between now and 2020 will be flexible enough to incorporate new technologies and opportunities over the next 10 to 30 years as we transition to renewable energy. New technologies will continue to be created, offering solutions we have yet to imagine.