On Tuesday, June 12, at the Wilmette Village Board meeting, 5 of the 7 Village trustees voted down the proposal to commit the Village to 100% green energy through the purchase of Renewable Energy Credits (REC’s) in its electrical aggregation decision.
The Board selected MC2 as Wilmette’s energy provider and opted for the minimum state requirement , (7% renewable energy), with individuals being able to choose 50% or 100% renewable energy through REC’s for a slight extra cost. Unfortunately, rarely more than 3% of the population takes advantage of this individual choice plan, according to Mark Pruitt, the Village aggregation consultant.
Despite more than 850 signatures and emails sent to the Village asking for the larger percentages of renewable energy as part of the Village aggregation package, the majority of Board members did not commit the Village to such a position. Instead they chose the cheapest rate. According to Village Manager, Tim Frenzer, residents should expect to save $300 or more per household per year. The Village’s sourcing of 100% renewable energy would have had minimal impact on this savings because the price for REC’s is extremely reasonable.
One reason for this reduced cost is that MC2, the new energy provider, sources 58% of its energy from coal plants, an increase of 15% coal usage over Commonwealth Edison. Coal is cheap, but it is also dirty and pollutes our air. The larger percentages of renewable energy would, through the purchase of REC’s, have somewhat compensated for this increased use of coal by providing increased subsidies for growing green energy industries like wind farms.
Village residents will still have a chance to select 50% or 100% green, renewable energy by contacting MC2 at its website when they receive their letter from the company confirming the contract and explaining how the electrical aggregation will work. The cost for REC’s for 50% renewable energy is 40₵/month/household ($4. 88/year) and for 100% 81₵/month/household ($9.75/year)—an extremely cheap price to pay for better air.
Jan Barshis, Wilmette resident.