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Letter: Elmhurst should support renewable energy with aggregation program

Published: Monday, May 19, 2014 12:42 p.m. CDT

To the Editor:

In 2012, Elmhurst residents and small businesses were given an opportunity to save money on electricity through Elmhurst’s municipal aggregation program. In addition to lower prices, aggregation allowed Elmhurst the opportunity to be among almost 100 communities in Illinois that purchased renewable energy within their electricity contract. Those collective clean energy purchases increased demand for energy sources like wind and solar, and reduced pollution levels equivalent to taking more than 1 million cars off the road or 250,000 homes off the grid. Because of variables in the energy market, rates for the 2014 contract are predicted to be higher than they were in 2012, but are still expected to provide some savings over ComEd rates. Regardless of rates, the energy provided to Elmhurst will include a large percentage of fossil fuels that have added costs we will not see on our electricity bills, including increased air and water pollution, higher carbon emissions and increased health risks. Aggregation provides the opportunity for Elmhurst to purchase renewable energy that can bring environmental, health and economic benefits, and reduce the many social costs associated with burning fossil fuels. In addition to cleaner air and water and reduced healthcare costs from cancer, heart disease, asthma and other respiratory problems, the economic benefits of increased renewable energy production include reduced price volatility, new job creation, energy independence and lower energy costs over time.

Consumers, large corporations, small businesses and municipalities are becoming more aware of the increasing costs of using carbon-based energy and are taking steps to share responsibility for reducing our impact on the environment. On behalf of the Cool Cities Coalition, I encourage Elmhurst city leaders to take all factors into consideration and to purchase clean energy in our new aggregation contract.

Lisa Gerhold

Chair, Elmhurst Cool Cities Coalition

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