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Stonington Looking into Clean Energy

With the commitment to clean power, however, come increased costs in the short term. The costs come from investments in renewable energy certificates or building alternatives such as wind turbines, Wall said. Extra costs could also come if, like residents have already done, the town turned some buildings over to clean energy through the utility company, he said.

STONINGTON - Since Walter Grant has switched to clean energy resources for his utilities, his energy bill has increased by less than $5. Grant has switched all the light bulbs in his home, with the exception of a chandelier, to a variety that is more environmentally friendly, in recent months.

"My heart has always been in the environment, but I decided recently I've got to do more than have my heart in it," Grant said.

Grant is among about 100 Stonington residents who have made the choice to pay a bit more, usually between $3.85 and $8 per month, to get their energy from clean sources, said Robert B. Wall, the New England regional director for Smart Power, a group dedicated to promoting the benefits of clean energy.

Wall, members of the local Sierra Club, and Rep. Diana Urban, R-N. Stonington, made a presentation to the Board of Selectmen Wednesday night, encouraging the town to increase clean energy in the town to 20 percent by the year 2010.

"This is an important issue in Stonington," Wall said. "At stake is a coastal community that would be directly affected by higher seas due to global warming."

First Selectman William S. Brown will be giving Wall a breakdown of Stonington's... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

STONINGTON - Since Walter Grant has switched to clean energy resources for his utilities, his energy bill has increased by less than $5. Grant has switched all the light bulbs in his home, with the exception of a chandelier, to a variety that is more environmentally friendly, in recent months.

"My heart has always been in the environment, but I decided recently I've got to do more than have my heart in it," Grant said.

Grant is among about 100 Stonington residents who have made the choice to pay a bit more, usually between $3.85 and $8 per month, to get their energy from clean sources, said Robert B. Wall, the New England regional director for Smart Power, a group dedicated to promoting the benefits of clean energy.

Wall, members of the local Sierra Club, and Rep. Diana Urban, R-N. Stonington, made a presentation to the Board of Selectmen Wednesday night, encouraging the town to increase clean energy in the town to 20 percent by the year 2010.

"This is an important issue in Stonington," Wall said. "At stake is a coastal community that would be directly affected by higher seas due to global warming."

First Selectman William S. Brown will be giving Wall a breakdown of Stonington's energy use in the coming week, so Wall can show the selectmen at a later date what would be needed to reach the 20 percent mark.

If the town were to pass an ordinance pledging to reach the 20 percent mark, it would be eligible to receive a solar energy unit for any town building, based on the 100 residents who are already using clean energy, Wall said. For every 100 residents who sign up for clean energy, Stonington would be able to receive another solar unit, which would provide the town with free energy for 20 to 30 years.

In real terms, the increased commitment would be 13 percent more, because of a state law requiring towns to be at 7 percent clean energy by 2010, Wall said. Currently, towns are required to use 2 percent clean energy.

With the commitment to clean power, however, come increased costs in the short term. The costs come from investments in renewable energy certificates or building alternatives such as wind turbines, Wall said. Extra costs could also come if, like residents have already done, the town turned some buildings over to clean energy through the utility company, he said.

Incentive programs like the state's Clean Energy Fund can help offset these initial costs.

"There is no such thing as a free lunch," Urban said. "Each consumer and tax payer has been paying into the Clean Energy Fund. It benefits all of us."

Urban stressed that initial costs would be investments that would eventually bear fruit in energy savings for the town.

"More than dollars and cents we need to review the entire package and go from there," Brown said. "The start-up costs don't scare me because they are something we can recoup down the road."

While the Board of Selectmen will take up the issue of clean energy again sometime in the future, the local Sierra Club will continue working to promote residents to take the lead, said Molly McKay, of the Connecticut Sierra Club.

"I feel very strongly about our need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels," she said. "When it comes to the environment, everything is local."

rgainor@thewesterlysun.com


 
 

 


Source: http://www.thewesterlysun.c...

AUG 20 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/4066-stonington-looking-into-clean-energy
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