The Madison Common Council formally approved the city’s commitment to transition to 100% clean, renewable energy across all sectors including electricity, heating and transportation. Madison represents the first city in Wisconsin and the biggest city in the Midwest to make a community-wide 100 percent clean energy commitment.
“I look forward to working with residents, schools, churches, businesses and our local utility as we begin transitioning to clean energy, community-wide,” said councilman Zach Wood. “The benefits of a transition to 100% clean energy are many. These goals will drive a clean energy economy that creates local jobs, provides affordable and sustainable electricity, and results in cleaner air and water. I am proud to be a part of this council that has made the historic commitment that will lead our community to a more sustainable future.”
In an important first step toward achieving the community-wide 100% clean energy goal, the Madison Common Council vote allocated $250,000 to develop a plan by January 18, 2018 for city operations to achieve goals of 100% renewable energy and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. This plan will include target dates for reaching these goals, interim milestones and budget estimates for the transition.
Sierra Club senior campaign representative Elizabeth Katt Reinders said, “Madison can help lead the Midwest with this bold commitment to 100% renewable energy, but we cannot do it alone. Our community has shown incredible support for moving beyond dirty fossil fuels. Today our city took that vital action, but Madison Gas & Electric must also be a key player in realizing this vision which will create more jobs and opportunity, reduce the burden of high electricity costs on residents and businesses, and protect our families from pollution. We’re hopeful Madison Gas & Electric will heed the calls of community leaders and residents throughout our city by committing to move beyond dirty fuels and working with us to achieve our community’s goals of 100% clean and renewable energy.”
Madison Gas & Electric currently gets, on average, 88% of its power generation from fossil fuel sources, including 68% coming from coal-fired generation. Only 12% is from renewables.
“Tonight’s vote for 100% clean energy shows a commitment to the future,” said councilwoman Denise DeMarb. “This vote is for our children and grandchildren. The work ahead will take many willing hands, decisions and some sacrifice, but the result is so worth it. The future became brighter tonight because of the vote for clean energy. Madison residents can look forward to a stronger, cleaner and healthier place for all to live.”
Abita Springs’ commitment
Meanwhile, in Louisiana, the Abita Springs Town Council approved a resolution establishing a community-wide goal of transitioning to 100% clean and renewable energy by 2030. Abita Springs represents the first city or town in Louisiana to commit to 100% renewable energy and the 24th city across the United States to make such a commitment.
In January, Abita Springs Mayor Greg Lemons, a Republican, signed a proclamation endorsing a goal of 100% renewable energy in Abita Springs. The resolution, which builds off of the mayor’s proclamation, affirms the goal of “deriving 100% of the town’s electricity from renewable energy sources by December 31, 2030.”
In response to Tuesday’s vote, Abita Springs Mayor Greg Lemons issued the following statement:
“As the mayor of a small town, I take seriously my responsibility to set the direction for our community.
“Transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy is a practical decision we’re making for our environment, our economy, and for what our constituents want in Abita Springs. Politics has nothing to do with it for me. Clean energy just makes good economic sense.
“By establishing a 100 percent renewable energy goal, we have an opportunity to use solar power that we can control in our community, for our community. Clean energy is a way that we can save money for Abita Springs both today and in the future.”
LeAnn Pinniger Magee, chair of Abita Committee for Energy Sustainability, also issued the following statement:
“In a state dominated by oil interests, Abita Springs is a unique community that can be a leader on the path to renewable energy. Our town already boasts the solar-powered Abita Brewery and we can see first-hand how clean energy benefits our businesses and our entire community. By transitioning to 100% renewable energy, we will save money on our utility bills, and protect our legendary water and clean air in the process.”
News item from Sierra Club