Peterborough Energy Action schedules outreach dialogues for renewable energy commitment

  • MacDowell's solar array along Union Street in Peterborough Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 2/1/2021 5:49:22 PM

Community dialogues are being continually scheduled for Peterborough residents interested in discussing the 2021 warrant article proposing that the town commit to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 and heat and transportation by 2050.

The article, put forth by Peterborough Energy Action, would assemble a committee to produce an initial plan to accomplish the goals if it passes at Town Meeting this year.

Sixty people attended the climate action panel that served as a kickoff to the campaign for the warrant article, organizer Dori Drachman said. The community dialogues are meant to be more intimate affairs, with about eight people per session, she said, to allow for people to express their concerns and get thorough answers to their questions. The first community dialogue happened last Thursday.

“In the warrant article, we make it really clear that this is an aspirational commitment, and not a legal commitment,” Drachman said, and that it won’t mandate residents to change their property or behavior. That led someone to ask why the town should bother passing the article, and how they could expect progress to be made without any legally binding language during the first dialogue, Drachman said.

“We believe we will make much more progress if we make a commitment, whether or not if its legally binding,” she said, particularly because drawing up a plan for success is the first step outlined in the process. Even if Peterborough makes it to 85 or 90 percent renewable energy, transportation, and heat by the deadlines, that’s likely more progress than if the town never made such a commitment, Drachman said.

Furthermore, market forces and collective actions can make huge impacts in a town’s carbon footprint without ever requiring anyone to buy solar panels or an electric vehicle, Drachman said. Implementing a community power agreement is one way Peterborough Energy Action expects to improve the town’s renewable energy portfolio in an equitable and fair way, she said, with no up-front costs to residents. “All you need to do is pay your electric bill,” she said.

Meanwhile, auto giant GM has promised to stop producing internal combustion engines by 2035. Commitments like that from big industries may render some local policies unnecessary, Drachman said. “We firmly believe you’re not going to be able to buy an internal combustion car by [2050],” she said.

Sessions are currently scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 12 p.m. and Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 4 p.m., and more will be posted on the Peterborough Energy Action website, Drachman said. Registration links and more information on the initiative can be found at www.peterboroughenergyaction.org or by contacting info@peterboroughenergyaction.org.


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