Commentary

Newburyport 2023 — It’s electrifying!

Newburyport is reducing our electric rates this new year while bringing a clean energy deal to us in 2023.
Photo by Chelsea on Unsplash
Published on
December 30, 2022
Contributors
Allies and Partners
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ACES Leadership and Youth Corps

 

Editor’s note: This is one in a continuing series of guestopinions about fostering environmental stewardship and leadership coordinatedby ACES — The Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards.

In the now classic movie “Grease”, John Travolta sings his love to Olivia Newton John - “cause the power, you're supplying, it’s electrifying." That song has us rocking in the streets to celebrate the New Year. That’s because we are hearing what the City is doing in the new year to try to reduce our electric rates while also bringing a clean energy deal to us in 2023.

 

By negotiating an aggregated electricity sourcing agreement for the City to lower our electricity bills we are all being offered a lower rate per kWh. Not only are our electrical bills going to be lower in this era of rising prices, but they will also be dramatically greener thanks to the state’s challenge goal of 54% produced by clean green methods. In fact, we can do better because according to data recently compiled by the U.S. EnergyInformation Administration (EIA), renewable energy sources provided almost 70%of the new U.S. electrical generating capacity added during the first eight months of 2022.

 

Ultimately electrifying everything is the way to go for a better climate outcome since electricity is moving rapidly towards cleaner sources of production as coal plants are shut down and wind and solar power rise dramatically and maybe now, we’ll have fusion power in the next decade. 

 

By electrifying everything we mean heating, cooling, cooking, transportation, and factory uses. Over time, but with prudent haste, we need to move toward eliminating everything that involves burning fossil fuels. That will mean changes like encouraging building codes that emphasize electric heating and cooking, gas mileage improvements to favor electric vehicles, maybe even phasing in electric school busses. We as individuals don’t have to wait. Even if you currently heat with oil cook and cook with gas, you can still do your little bit better for climate by regulating your heat, and using a crock pot, electric air fryer, griddle, or toaster oven whenever you can.

 

This kind of electrical rate deal was made possible by evolutionary changes in utility regulations made by our elected officials who istened to what advocates and scientists around the state weresaying. Rewriting the regulatory model was slow, hard, collaborative work. Itneeded to balance the good it could do with preserving existing jobsand the needs of utility businesses.

 

The team that made this cost reducing agreement happen here in the Clipper City should be very proud. It’s a team that spanned several CityCouncil terms and leadership from both former Mayor Holaday and Mayor Reardon and included City Energy coordinator Molly Ettenborough’s expertise and many volunteers on the City’s Energy Advisory Committee. In many ways this new community aggregation agreement has built on all that prior work brought forward.

 

ACES is grateful for all that work and for everyone who has contributed to this continuing journey towards “Net Zero” energy that produces no greenhouse gasses and thus helps slow down and ultimately reduce global warming. 

 

We read dire headlines about droughts, floods, sea level rising, climate changing and more. But a new year brings new hope. For 2023 that hope includes cheaper and cleaner electricity for Newburyporters. And then we smile when we think back on that song from ‘Grease’, “You’re the one that I want” because Newburyport really is electrifying. 

 

Happy New Year from all of us at ACES

Our Youth Corps asks that if you care about issues like theseand would like to learn more and possibly do a bit more or have any questions,please send an email to acesnewburyport@gmail.com. To learn more about ACES and its Initiatives, visit https://www.aces-alliance.org.

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