With a commitment of up to $250,000, the city of Madison set a goal of reaching 100 percent renewable energy use with a resolution passed by the City Council Tuesday night.
The resolution calls for hiring an expert to assist city staff in developing a plan that would move the city toward using only renewable energy and achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Madison’s 2017 capital budget already includes $750,000 for sustainability improvements, including renewable energy installations and energy efficiency upgrades.
“I’m really excited what this means for our city facilities and our community as a whole,” Ald. Zach Wood, District 8, said.
The resolution approved Tuesday calls for city staff to develop a plan by January 2018 that would include target dates to meet goals, interim milestones, budget estimates and estimated financial impacts.
Proponents stressed the importance of local government taking the lead on promoting clean energy goals, citing failures at the state and national level.
“In a time of inaction at the state and federal levels, cities need to lead,” Ald. Denise DeMarb said in a statement. “Cities need to continue to move towards a sustainable future, creating good jobs and a future we are proud to hand over to our kids.”
Though the resolution is aimed at improving city operations, it also sets a general community-wide expectation to rally around clean energy goals. Madison is the first city in Wisconsin to make a community-wide 100 percent clean energy commitment, according to the Sierra Club.
The Council chambers were filled with resolution supporters who applauded the unanimous approval. Among those was Sierra Club Organizer Devin Martin who said the city’s new goal of using renewable energy is especially important to him as a father looking toward his family’s future.
“We can transform an economy from one that requires fossil fuels … to one that is transformed into a clean energy future,” Martin said.