Target: Spencer Newman, Chair of Burlington Electric Department’s Board
Goal: Praise final step in a city’s transition toward using only renewable energy
Vermonters continue to set the bar for a greener future for all Americans. While the state as a whole has announced a determination to use 90 percent renewable energy by the year 2050, the city of Burlington has already touched the 100 percent mark. Burlington shows that transitioning to green energy is feasible and beneficial even for small cities, though the process naturally required a bit of planning. According to Burlington Electric’s manager of power resources Ken Nolan, “The transition in thought from 2004 to 2008 was ‘We want to do this’ to ‘This actually makes economic sense for us to do this.'”
Recently, the Burlington Electric Department finalized the purchase of a hydroelectric facility on the Winooski River near the city’s border. This means that, unless natural resources like water and wind are temporarily lacking, all of Burlington’s electricity comes from renewable sources. In the event of a natural energy drought, Burlington Electric can negotiate the purchase of alternative sources, which will include energy from fossil fuels. But the department can offset this cost by selling off extra renewable energy credits when it is flush with energy. Some critics argue that these contingency plans render the 100 percent renewable claim false. However, it would be difficult to argue that this achievement is anything less than an extraordinary victory for the green energy movement.
By signing this petition, you are applauding the Burlington Electric Department’s investment in a greener Burlington. You are also praising Burlington Electric’s commitment to ending its reliance on fossil fuels, and encouraging the board to continue pursuing a completely renewable future.
Dear Chairman Newman,
I am extremely excited by Burlington Electric’s recent purchase of the hydroelectric facility on the Winooski River, putting Burlington among the largest communities to free itself from fossil fuels. Burlington Electric has demonstrated that reliance on fossil fuels for energy is a way of the past. While the state of Vermont makes strides toward fossil fuel independence in the next few decades, Burlington continues to set itself apart as a leader among Vermont’s progressive, pro-environment communities.
Thank you for committing to 100 percent renewable energy in Burlington, and for demonstrating that it is possible without unreasonable cost to citizens. Thank you and Burlington Electric for providing a model for sustainable energy dependence in relatively large communities. I urge you to continue working to implement renewable energy technology as a comprehensive alternative to fossil fuels.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Michael Calore via Wikimedia Commons