100% Renewable Energy use in a community – is it possible?
The answer at the Renewable Energy Public Workshop for residents of the West Chester Area was a resounding “YES”.
Worldwide, the energy industry is undergoing one of the most dramatic transformations in history, with changes in networked power delivery, distributed generation, and cost trends favoring renewable energy investment. To make the most of this revolution, utilities, governments, and many other stakeholders in the energy sector, are looking for expertise in energy transition assessment, planning and policy development. Five of the municipalities in the West Chester Area Council of Governments (WCACOG), including West Goshen Township, are looking at what actions a Renewable Energy future requires.
Renewable energy has gained traction with local governments across the nation. About 130 different local government entities in the United States have set their target to be 100 percent renewable energy within the next 30-years. There are four elements that collectively can enable communities to attain the goal of 100% renewable energy:
- Maximizing energy efficiency
- Electrifying everything
- Building local renewable energy generation
- Buying renewable energy from utilities through the grid
Some municipalities in the WCACOG have committed to 100% renewable electricity by 2035 and 100% renewable energy by 2050. Currently West Goshen has agreed to join other municipalities in funding a consultant study with Cadmus, a strategic and technical consultancy company focused on helping solve problems in energy, transportation, and environmental issues.
On Thursday July 11, Cadmus and the WCACOG held a Renewable Energy Workshop at the West Whiteland Township building. The workshop was designed to listen to public concerns about the future of energy and seek public input to incorporate in the study. There were three goals:
- To define what a successful outcome would look like for an energy transformation
- To identify community priorities for renewable energy transition
- To identify barriers to implementation of renewable energy systems
During the workshop breakout sessions were used, so that everyone in the group could voice their opinions, share concerns and provide their priorities about a renewable energy future. Cadmus will incorporate the themes from the workshop output into their renewable energy assessment, ensuring that the local community priorities are reflected in the study recommendations.
The expectation is that the study report from Cadmus will be available in late October/early November and presented in a public meeting. In the meantime, next steps include Cadmus providing a synopsis of “what we heard” from the workshop, an opportunity to hear an update on progress at the WCACOG meeting in September, and on-going public communication and education using materials from Cadmus and other sources. Stay tuned!