Supporting Renewable Energy with Your Local Officials and in Your Community

by Bob Ciesielski and Susan Lawrence

The need to halt climate change becomes clearer every day. So does the need to promote the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency in our economy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors. 

Last year, our New York Energy Team commenced a Ready for 100 Campaign to bring awareness of the importance of renewable energy and energy efficiency to local governments and municipalities across the state. A number of our Sierrans have started to contact supervisors and mayors to sign a simple pledge to support renewable energy development. We’re asking you, our local members, to become involved with your local Sierra Club groups to bring this message to your elected leaders.

Besides obtaining pledges, the Ready for 100 Campaign also provides means for considering and acting on the many positive examples of developing renewable energy sources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The 55-minute film Reinventing Power gives eight wonderful examples of renewable energy successes nationwide, including clips of the Block Island Wind Turbine farm, the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colorado, the use of municipal electric buses and the replacement of fossil fuel jobs with renewable energy employment. 

Additionally, our Energy Team has developed and released the stories of a number of local successes in the energy sector in New York State. These inspirational stories are examples of how various communities have reduced greenhouse gas emissions and enhanced their local economies through clean energy development. Many of these advances in renewables and energy efficiency have come about through NYS programs.

These stories include the advantages of Community Choice Aggregation (municipal governments making renewable electricity available to all residents). Some towns have become Clean Energy Communities under the auspices of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) with funding incentives for implementing clean energy goals, such as community solar programs and purchase of municipal electric vehicles. Many other communities have already implemented Climate Smart Community programs, where the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and NYSERDA offer continuing help to communities to save energy and develop renewables.
It is our hope that developing the discussion on renewables and energy conservation in all sectors will encourage our State Legislature and Governor Cuomo to focus on the importance of these issues.

If you’re interested in taking an active part in this important climate change work to protect your community and develop renewably sourced energy, please contact your group or chapter leaders, or go to our Atlantic Chapter website

Bob is the Atlantic Chapter Energy Committee Chair and Susan is a member of the Energy Committee.