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Keene Joins N.H. Towns Working Toward All-Renewable Energy Goals

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Keene is the latest New Hampshire municipality to approve a goal of using only renewable energy within a few decades.

The Keene city council approved the non-binding resolution Thursday night 14 to 1.

It says the entire community should work toward using only renewable fuels for electricity by 2030, and for heat and transportation by 2050.

Most councilors lauded the plan as an important step in addressing climate change. Councilor Terry Clark said it could also lower energy costs and spur economic development.

“Because we’ll be looking at new technologies and tearing down the old system or rebuilding the old system, that it’s going to create a huge number of jobs and interest in this region,” Clark said.

Councilor Robert Sutherland was the lone “no” vote. He said he felt the city was already doing enough on the issue.

“We don’t know what the technologies will be,” Sutherland said. “And most of the people in this room, unfortunately, by the year 2050, may be dead.”

Keene has been working on climate change adaptation for nearly 20 years, and has cut its municipal carbon emissions by 25 percent.

The city will write a strategic plan for achieving the goals, with public input, by the end of 2020.

Concord, Portsmouth, Plainfield, Cornish and Hanover are pursuing similar plans.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.
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