Editorial: ‘Mayors Can Get Around the Fed in Going Green’

The following is an article by Newton’s Director of Sustainability, Ann Berwick, that appeared in the Boston Globe on June 8. She speaks on the the power of cities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through municipal aggregation, the practice of having a city or town negotiate the cost of  power (in particular as renewable energy) on behalf of  its residents. 

Mayors can get around the feds in going green

By Ann Berwick June 08, 2018

As Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston hosts the annual meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors, many of the mayors bemoan federal policies that undermine local efforts to address climate change.

The mayors are to be commended for the collaboration they have just announced to buy more renewable power, but they may not know that many of them — including all in Massachusetts — already have a stunningly effective tool to accelerate the development of renewable power like solar and wind and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The tool is a readily available mechanism for purchasing even larger amounts of renewable power. That tool is municipal aggregation, known in some communities as community-choice aggregation or community-choice energy.

Utilities like Eversource and National Grid deliver electricity, but they don’t generate it. Instead, they buy electricity for most residential and small business customers, who are known as “Basic Service” customers.

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