What proposals about renewable energy or energy efficiency are people debating now in your town or state?
We in Washington State are collecting signatures for Initiative 732, which would tax carbon emissions from individuals and businesses. The initiative includes a low-income working families’ rebate and simultaneous cuts in sales taxes and manufacturers' taxes that leave state revenue unchanged overall. Carbon-free energy from wind and solar would not be taxed. This initiative will encourage recognition of our fossil fuel use, promote renewable energy, lower carbon emissions, and help slow climate change. We think this will be a more powerful and politically acceptable approach than a cap-and-trade system.
Jack Rice, Olympia, WA
Eight years ago in central New York, we sited the first wind farm east of the Mississippi—with eight turbines initially and two larger ones that followed. All was good and still is: clean energy, jobs, economic boost to the schools and towns, even an educational center. We also have a nonprofit, called Solarize CNY (as in Central New York), promoting solar energy installation throughout the area.
Ron Blackmore, Madison, NY
California is one of six states in which cities and counties are creating public, not-for-profit Community Choice energy programs that provide electricity services for local residents and businesses. Three Community Choice programs are already in operation in California, conserving energy and procuring electricity on local residents’ behalf. Dozens more such programs are in the pipeline, offering customers a cleaner electricity mix at a lower rate than utilities.
For municipalities with climate action plans, Community Choice programs are a highly effective means to reduce global warming emissions while creating thousands of jobs in clean energy fields. The programs are also popular with school districts and other public sector customers that can see substantial savings on their electricity bills.
Erica Etelson, Berkeley, CA
Here are two positive developments:
1) Solar panels on the city hall in Bloomington, Indiana. County offices in the same building got solar panels in 2012 and added more in 2014; the array now totals 88 kilowatts.
2) Monroe County, Indiana, is competing for the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a competition for communities seeking to develop sustainable energy-saving innovations. The county also has negotiated an energy services contract (or ESCO) with Honeywell for energy efficiency improvements.
Anne Hedin, Bloomington, IN