Energy Task Force talks community energy policy with City Council July 28

The Northfield Energy Task Force is scheduled to meet with members of the City Council at the Council work session scheduled for 7 pm, July 28th at the Council Chambers. The Task Force and Council will be discussing recommendations contained in the report recently submitted to the Council by the Task Force. Some of the recommendations are relatively low-key and low stakes; others are more aggressive and sure to be more controversial, yet could have a dramatic impact on Northfield’s future.

I had the privilege of serving on the Task Force (chaired by George Kinney), which was created by resolution of the Council in May 2007. The Task Force was charged with the following:

“1. To assess opportunities to develop local energy efficiency and clean energy projects that will
a. Protect the community from future energy price and supply instability
b. Enhance local economic development
c. Provide local, regional and global environmental benefits
2. To assess the efficacy of creation of a municipal electric utility or special energy district
in achieving the above
3. To recommend citywide target greenhouse gas emissions reductions to fulfill Milestone 2
of the City’s commitment to the Cities for Climate Protection Campaign (CCPC)
4. To develop an action plan to meet the CCPC targets identified in step 3 above.”

From the executive summary of the report:

“Both City operations and the entire local economy are vulnerable to energy
price spikes, and the Council resolution creating the NETF acknowledged the
obligation to respond locally to the global climate change problem. Northfield
has an opportunity to thrive while responding to this vulnerability and
proactively building a new local clean energy-based economy. This report
provides an action plan to take advantage of this opportunity.”

I’m looking forward to the discussion of the report with the Council, and getting a sense of what they’re willing to get behind. I truly believe that the challenges posed by energy price and supply instability and global climate change represent an opportunity for a community ready to lead by example. I hope the Council shares that view.

Discussion between the Council and another task force I served on over the past year, the Nonmotorized Transportation Task Force, chaired by Bill Ostrem, also takes place at the same work session meeting. Should be an interesting evening of local politics for those interested in local sustainability initiatives!

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