Green energy backers crestfallen in Wilmette
Wilmette residents who wanted the village to require that its new electric power provider provide the equivalent of 100 percent renewable energy for all customers in the program said last week they were disappointed – but not surprised – when the village rejected that approach.
“Unfortunately, I kind of expected it,” Pomona Lane resident Jan Barshis said June 12, after trustees elected to require only an “individual choice” option for customers who want all their electricity to be renewable, or the equivalent of renewable.
Barshis and a half-dozen renewable energy backers pleaded with trustees to go for the 100 percent option, and many pointed out that 850 residents signed a petition to that effect.
“If the health and well-being of our residents is the primary concern in your decision making tonight, then choose the 100 percent green, renewable energy option is not only the right one but the only one to make,” Barshis, a member of the Go Green Wilmette organization, told trustees.
Doing so could eventually keep 147,000 tons of green house gases out of the atmosphere. Even if the clean energy generated by such a choice is generated far from Wilmette, it will benefit Wilmette and society in general, she suggested.
Ashland Avenue resident Paul Pappageorge told trustees he helps finance renewable energy projects, and said using renewable energy credits to provide clean power helps support renewable energy providers and make renewable energy a viable industry.
Pappageorge noted that going for a village-wide 100 percent option would cut less than $10 a year from the estimated $340-400 that program planners expect to save Wilmette households in the first year of a three year contract.
“That’s a small price to pay” for helping improve air quality, he said.
After the meeting, he called the board’s decision “the least politically sensitive” one trustees could make.
Laurel Avenue resident Debra Favre, a member of the village’s environmental and energy commission, told trustees before they voted that she’d heard little opposition to the 100 percent option.
Afterwards, she said renewable energy supporters would have to educate their fellow residents, in order to convince as many as possible of them to choose the renewable energy option.