Peterborough Renewable Energy Planning team holding first public meeting Thursday

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 11/12/2021 4:32:45 PM

After Town Meeting supported a warrant this spring to commit Peterborough moving to 100% renewable energy, the town established the Peterborough Renewable Energy Planning team and tasked them with presenting an initial plan by December 2022 on how to meet these goals.

The warrant article, which passed by a 74% margin, was sponsored by the Peterborough Energy Action group and calls for the town to commit to the goal of reaching 100% reliance on renewable energy sources for electricity by 2030, and the same for all other energy needs by 2050. 

The team is having its first public meeting at noon in the Peterborough Town Library on Thursday.

“We really just want to hear from folks - what they’re excited about with the goals, what they’re concerned about,” said Dori Drachman, a member of the PREP team. “Maybe what they’ve tried to do as individuals to transition to renewables or use less energy, and find out if there’s anything that could make that process easier for them.”

This is just the first of many meetings that the team is hoping to host, according to Drachman, in pursuit of the group’s goal of presenting a plan for the town to establish reliance on renewable energy sources. 

“It’s a big undertaking, but it’s absolutely crucial,” Drachman said. “I feel very fortunate to live in a town that understands that we are in a crisis, and that we really need to meet it with meaningful action.”

Community-led action is the emphasis for PREP, according to Jean Foster, another member of the team, as she said climate action is largely stalled on a larger scale.

“Since it’s not happening at that level and it’s not going to happen at that level, people are thinking, ‘Let’s just do what we can where we can,’” Foster said. 

The goal is based on the Ready for 100 Initiative from the Sierra Club, a nationwide campaign to help cities, towns and states commit to clean energy. More than 180 cities and towns in the country have committed to the campaign, which Drachman said comes out to one in four Americans living somewhere that has set these goals.

“It’s really encouraging,” Drachman said. And it will hopefully provide a framework for the work to be done, to help the team “not reinvent the wheel.”

PREP officially began meeting in August. It was formed outside of the town government to help keep the process streamlined, although another group was formed within the confines of town government to look for specific ways to help residents get renewable electricity, the Community Power Task Force.

“I feel very lucky, I feel like we do have a very knowledgeable team and a very hard-working team and a very passionate team,” Drachman said. They are also open to anybody who might want to join that team, she added.

They began the process by dividing into work groups to help streamline the process. The groups include one for gathering data on energy use and consumption in Peterborough and another for researching what other towns who have made this commitment are doing.

“We’re trying to look at plans of towns that are somewhat comparable in size to us,” Drachman said, adding that this group will likely morph into writing the plan itself. 

The other work groups include one focused on communication between the groups and spreading the word about the team’s efforts, and a final one focused on garnering community input, which is working on the public meetings in the hopes of getting residents involved. 

“Anybody who lives in Peterborough, we’d love to have them come and let us know what they’re thinking so we can really integrate that feedback into our planning process,” said Drachman. 

Those planning to attend the first meeting can do so in person or virtually, and are requested to register beforehand by visiting  

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