Response to 6/23/17 Keene Sentinel Editorial regarding the Keene gas plant
I very much enjoyed and generally agree with your editorial on “Keeping Climate Perspective.” I absolutely agree that the mayor, city council and planning board members have nothing but the best interests of Keene’s (and the region’s) citizens and businesses.
As one of the activists you refer to in your editorial, it makes me a little sad that the message we’re sending isn’t being received. What we are asking is that the City of Keene take responsibility for solving the aging propane plant problem within the context of what they want the future of Keene to look like.
As it stands, Liberty is determining the future of Keene by expanding/enhancing their gas infrastructure.
What if Keene took an extra step and asked, “How else can we cost effectively solve the problem of an aging propane gas system AND move us in the direction of clean and renewable energy?”
What would it hurt to actually study that question and quantify the costs and benefits? This is a very opportune time for Keene to get support from the New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association, the Community Development Finance Authority and the utilities that will be looking for pilot projects for community solar. Why not offer Monadnock Marketplace an alternative solution involving energy efficiency audits, weatherization and efficiency, and air source heat pumps powered by solar/local hydro via net metering? If they compare the operating costs side by side over the next 20 years, perhaps the more efficient, forward looking solution will prove more affordable and reliable than people think.
Efficiency Maine ran a very successful air source heat pump campaign that helped the state move from #16 in 2014 to #11 in 2016 for national energy efficiency rankings. New Hampshire ranks #21.
There is a real opportunity here for Keene to invite discussion and gather data on how we could cost effectively plot a path to 100% renewable energy. That discussion is happening in communities all over the state. Portsmouth and Hanover are moving aggressively toward that 100% goal. Production Ave is merely the impetus for taking action now.
Real leadership doesn’t simply follow the script; it recognizes the opportunities in a crisis.
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