Concord Seeks Business Support Before Passing Renewable Energy Goal

May 15, 2018

Green-clad supporters pack Concord's city council chambers to support a proposed renewable energy goal.
Credit Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Concord’s city council wants more time to get local businesses on board with a plan to transition to all renewable energy sources within about 30 years.

Councilors in the state capital voted Monday night to get a fiscal review of the proposal before aiming to pass it next month.

They want more buy-in from groups like the Concord Chamber of Commerce, which raised concerns Monday about the costs of the proposed timeline. 

Dozens of supporters also packed council chambers, urging passage of the resolution – including local students, like St. Paul’s School sophomore Zoe Dienes.

“Now, it does not take just one city to make change, but Concord can inspire millions around the globe,” she said. “And as our generation grows older, we will look for jobs and homes in cities that are beautiful, clean and sustainable.”

The current proposal would have Concord aim to use only renewable energy sources for electricity by 2030, and for heat and transportation by 2050. (Read the full resolution below.) 

Councilors seemed comfortable with that timeline, but had questions about how the policy defines “renewable.”

Currently, it includes solar, wind and some small-scale hydro and biomass, but excludes nuclear power, waste incineration and future large-scale hydro projects, as well as fossil fuels.

As written, the city's energy committee says, the policy would be non-binding and “aspirational.” It would have the city would spend the first year after passage taking public input on how to achieve those goals.

The proposal will now go to Concord’s fiscal policy advisory committee for what Mayor Jim Bouley says he expects will be “small tweaks” before the June council meeting.

Concord would be the largest New Hampshire community to approve such a goal. A handful of others, including Portsmouth and Hanover, have passed similar policies in the past year.