Friday, December 14, 2007

Clean Energy for Cville & Beyond

At our City Council meeting next Monday, Dec. 17, we'll be considering a resolution that would bolster efforts to promote renewable energy and energy conservation & efficiency in Charlottesville and throughout the Commonwealth. The resolution also calls for a moratorium on the development or expansion of new coal-fired or nuclear facilities in Virginia, given the enormous environmental threats posed by each -- and given the fact that they could be rendered completely unnecessary if we just got a little smarter when it comes to conservation and efficiency. (It doesn't help that Virginia ranks LAST in the country in per capita utility spending on energy efficiency. First place? My mother's home state, Vermont.)

For more information on what you can do to help in the effort to curb "dirty energy" in Virginia, here are two sites to visit (note that the deadline for submitting public comments on the Wise County mountaintop removal coal-fired plant is TODAY):

Wise Energy for Virginia
No New Nukes


Here is the text of the proposed City Council resolution:


WHEREAS, the City of Charlottesville has demonstrated its commitment to addressing the critical challenges of climate change and increased dependence on non-renewable, polluting energy sources by, among other actions:

• Implementing an Environmental Management System since 2003 with goals of compliance, pollution prevention, environmental improvement, and sustainability;
• Pursuing and promoting energy conservation and efficiency in City operations, resulting in substantial cost savings to City government and City schools;
• Signing on to the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement in 2006; and,
• Adopting a resolution endorsing the development of renewable energy resources, including wind turbines, in Virginia in 2007; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement specifically commits signatories to:
• reduce global warming pollution;
• increase the use of clean, alternative energy;
• advocate for the development of renewable energy resources;
• make energy efficiency a priority in municipal operations; and,
• “help educate the public, schools, other jurisdictions, professional associations, business and industry about reducing global warming pollution”;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City of Charlottesville shall:

1. Express to the Virginia Energy Purchasing Governmental Association (VEPGA)/Dominion Virginia Power its interest in purchasing electricity from renewable energy sources generally, and from the Highland New Wind project specifically; and,

2. Explore creation of a municipal aggregation program to demonstrate community demand for renewable energy alternatives; and,

3. Explore creative options for development of local Renewable Energy Generation Projects (defined by Dominion Virginia Power, which seeks to partner in the development of such projects, as “energy projects derived from sunlight, wind, falling water, sustainable biomass, energy from waste, wave motions, tides, and geothermal power”); and,

4. Redouble its efforts to promote energy conservation and energy efficiency within City and School operations; and,

5. Develop and implement a high-profile campaign, similar to the “Fresh Aire” initiative in Arlington, which promotes energy conservation and energy efficiency within the community at large; and,

6. Petition the Commonwealth of Virginia to create a mandatory Renewable Portfolio Standard for public utilities and, further, to place a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants (such as proposed for Wise County) and expansion of existing nuclear power plants (such as proposed for North Anna) until there has first been a significant expansion of investment in energy conservation and energy efficiency efforts and development of renewable energy alternatives. Through these kinds of investments we can obviate (or at least substantially delay) the need to increase our reliance on non-renewable, polluting energy sources.

Signed and sealed this 17th day of December, 2007.

Mountaintop removal coal mining, in all its destructive glory

1 comment:

The Road Runner said...

"Mountaintop removal coal mining, in all its destructive glory"

It seems that greatest objections stem from unanswered questions. I have a few myself: How does the stillborn rate compare to other (non-clean coal powered) parts of the country? Were there other factors in the stillbirth rate? What demonstrated comparative effects of other clean-coal plants have been measured? What restorative and recreational efforts have been made in the wake of coal mining - and what does the existing proposal intend to do about it? How does the mercury production compare to other non-coal based powerplants? Where does the mercury go when it is produced? (I.e. air, water, the making of Terminator 2???)

I find it prudent to have enough information before rushing to a decision. In light of other *cough cough* political events, I can understand this skepticism.

However, it would be nice to see an open mindedness about non-readily replenishable resources to provide energy until the technology for renewable energy becomes sustainable.