Rochester’s Generational Opportunity on Energy

The 2018 elections are over and I see a generational opportunity to take actions to move towards clean energy and sustainability in Rochester. Mayor Kim Norton is just the leader that we needed to take real action. This is her opportunity to shine. Besides for doing our part to address Anthropogenic Climate Change, this opportunity will deliver additional benefits.

The benefits of a shift to clean renewable energy are numerous and include:

  • Reducing and eliminating fossil fuel contributions to climate change.
  • Producing all of our energy in our region.
  • Cleaner air, water, and indoor air environments.
  • Long term cost savings to all people.
  • Opportunities for equity in energy generation.
  • Increase housing affordability.

Making these changes requires a commitment to 3 very simple principles:

  1. Conservation (we have so much more we can do).
  2. Electrify everything (including heating and transportation).
  3. Clean the energy grid (more renewables / storage / demand management).
  4. Seriously… It is just 3…

We can do all of this be making strategic decisions in 2019. Here are some simple but effective policies we can implement:

  1. Integrate conservation in rate design structures.
  2. Update infrastructure plan to require 100% investments in clean / renewable energy.
  3. Proceed with time of day pricing / aggressively move towards smart meters.
  4. Prohibit further expenditures on fossil fuel plants.
  5. Get serious about downtown energy district.
  6. Incentivize heat pumps for home heating.
  7. Incentivize electric vehicles.
  8. Eliminate substantial subsidies for unsustainable development.
  9. Adjust development fees to reward efficiency and sustainability.
  10. Educate the public on clean energy, climate change, and the power of small changes.

We will get an early test of our willingness to take action. RPU is asking the board and council to raise customer charges (the part of your electric bill that you can’t control). I am suggesting that we not only say no to further customer charge increases, but instead reduce customer charges saving conservation minded households $100 annually. The meeting to discuss this was originally scheduled for November 13th. The meeting has now been moved to November 20th despite my long planned absence from the country.

One comment

  1. It needs to be done! I think the incentives are the way to go to make it more palatable for people to make the change,

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