With a December deadline looming to finalize its plan for Keene to shift entirely to renewable energy over the next 30 years, the city’s energy and climate committee is working to hammer out the remaining details.
The committee spent much of its May 6 meeting reviewing key elements of its proposed strategies to transition to renewable sources for thermal energy and transportation. The nonbinding goal, which the City Council adopted in January 2019, is to have residents, businesses, nonprofit organizations and the public sector all operating on renewable electric energy by 2030, with all thermal energy and energy used for transportation coming from renewable sources by 2050.
Priorities in the committee’s plan to move to thermal energy include implementing a “home energy labeling” program for residences, which would mandate disclosing energy costs in rent and sale listings. The plan also includes a proposed Mandatory Benchmarking Ordinance, which would require reporting energy costs to the city for buildings of a certain size, particularly commercial buildings.
Other priorities the committee discussed include partnering with weatherization programs, providing education about energy efficiency and existing incentives for renewable energy installations, and offering incentives at the city level.
However, committee members raised questions about one of the priorities, to explore possibly constructing a renewable district heating system — a system for distributing heat generated in a centralized area — or a combined heat and power pilot project.
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