Sustainable Madison Committee held a meeting Wednesday to discuss the city’s current efforts to transition to 100 percent renewable energy.
The Madison Common Council officially approved the city’s commitment to completely embrace clean resources in March.
Josh Arnold, Associate Director at consulting company Navigant’s Energy practice said Madison is “all in” for renewable energy.
“We’ve all heard the news about the current administration’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, and since that time, cities all over North America, cities all over the midwest, have taken a step up and have made a commitment to reduce their carbon emissions,” Arnold said.
Some ideas included building more solar panels in open fields near Dane County Regional Airport, electrical companies billing homeowners more for higher usage, instead of charging one flat fee and partnering with companies like Virent to extract energy from biomass instead of fracked gas.
Jesse Ellgren, Beyond Coal campaign volunteer said he is a “big advocate” for “aggressively dumping coal.”
“About 66 percent of the whole city runs on coal power,” Ellgren said. “Madison is one of the dirtiest cities still in the United States, and that’s one of the easiest things we can cut out, substituting with natural gas and other things.”
Charles Hua, a senior at Madison West High School, spoke about an initiative he started called ‘Project Solace’ that currently aims to equip the school with 100 solar panels by the end of the year.
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To close the forum, WKOW Chief Meteorologist Bob Lindmeier spoke on climate change and the current state of environmental protection on the federal and state level.
“This initiative is fantastic,” Lindmeier said. “It’s about urgency…It’s about doing as much as you can to progress to the point where we’re leaving fossil fuels in the ground.”