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When it comes to energy, town wants a clean fight

CHESHIRE — The town may compete with the town of Bethany, just to the west, in an effort to spur residents to commit to using at least some electricity from renewable sources.

Members of the Energy Commission discussed the proposed competition at their Jan. 30 meeting. Town Councilor Tim White attended, and said he attended the first meeting of Bethany’s new Clean Energy Task Force that day.

Both Cheshire and Bethany recently committed to having a goal of getting 20 percent of their municipal government’s electricity from renewable sources by 2010, and encouraging residents, businesses, and nonprofit organizations in town to do so. SmartPower and the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund are publicizing the national 20 percent by 2010 effort in Connecticut. SmartPower is a non-profit marketing campaign dedicated to promoting clean energy.

After looking at the SmartPower Web site, White saw that West Hartford and New Haven had similar competitions, as did Barnstable and Falmouth, Mass. He noted that Cheshire neighbors Hamden and Bethany are both committed to 20 percent by 2010. He contacted the first selectwoman in Bethany, who got that town involved.

It’s a contest to see which town reaches 2 percent of its utility customers using clean energy first. But how to document this is unclear, White and commission member Carol Wilson said.

“It’s not so much about winning a... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
Members of the Energy Commission discussed the proposed competition at their Jan. 30 meeting. Town Councilor Tim White attended, and said he attended the first meeting of Bethany’s new Clean Energy Task Force that day.

Both Cheshire and Bethany recently committed to having a goal of getting 20 percent of their municipal government’s electricity from renewable sources by 2010, and encouraging residents, businesses, and nonprofit organizations in town to do so. SmartPower and the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund are publicizing the national 20 percent by 2010 effort in Connecticut. SmartPower is a non-profit marketing campaign dedicated to promoting clean energy.

After looking at the SmartPower Web site, White saw that West Hartford and New Haven had similar competitions, as did Barnstable and Falmouth, Mass. He noted that Cheshire neighbors Hamden and Bethany are both committed to 20 percent by 2010. He contacted the first selectwoman in Bethany, who got that town involved.

It’s a contest to see which town reaches 2 percent of its utility customers using clean energy first. But how to document this is unclear, White and commission member Carol Wilson said.

“It’s not so much about winning a competition but raising public awareness,” White said.
Isabel Kearns, zoning enforcement officer in Bethany, said Wednesday that the contest’s parameters haven’t been established. But she suggests that Bethany residents who participate would get gift certificates to businesses in Bethany that are willing to help. The selectmen in Bethany, which has only 8,000 people, voted to sign on to 20 percent by 2010 on Aug. 22, 2005.

Wilson noted that she spoke to the Cheshire Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 25, urging members to join 20 percent by 2010, and that the Cheshire United Methodist Church, of which she’s a member, has committed to the project. As more people in town commit to it, the town gets closer to its goal of getting a free $20,000 solar panel.

“When we get 100 points, we’ll get a 2 kilowatt array,” Wilson said. “For every residential customer who signs up for 100 percent clean power, we get 1 point. We’ve got 61 points. The Methodist church and parsonage give us two.”

For a household to get clean power, it just has to call its electric company and switch to an alternate company that gets at least some of its electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind, or landfill gas. It’s akin to switching long-distance phone companies.

“A number of people are under the assumption that you’d need to have an electrician come to your house and rewire your house,” White said. “But all it is, you give CL&P your account number, and say ‘I authorize you to switch me to clean energy.’”

The towns first need to establish a prize and have their highest legislative bodies approve the contest.

Source: http://www.record-journal.c...

FEB 9 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/1255-when-it-comes-to-energy-town-wants-a-clean-fight
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