Madison alders preserve City's solar program

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lost under the avalanche of comment and discussion about bus fares, Madison’s city council preserved $100,000 in the capital budget to continue the City’s solar energy program.

Earlier in the month, RENEW sent out the following action alert:

A proposed amendment to the pending City budget would remove funds for continuation of the City’s impressive commitment to solar energy – the number one priority in the City of Madison's sustainability to-do list for 2008. Mayor Dave Cieslewicz’s 2009 budget would support the priority with an allocation of $100,000.

Regrettably, Alders Sanborn, Compton, and Pham-Remmele have offered Amendment No. 6 to the 2009 Capital Budget to delete the funding, even though Madison and its citizens use the existing program extensively and the need for renewable energy grows each day as concern about climate-changing pollution increases and the world’s fossil fuel supplies decline.

The headline of a recent newspaper story tells of solar energy’s success: Homeowners, businesses, city of Madison embracing renewable energy systems. The story says:

Another sign that demand is high for solar power in Madison: About 270 people have requested free solar power consultations for their homes or businesses since the city hired consultant Larry Walker in early June. Walker advises property owners on whether it would be to their advantage to install solar panels to provide electricity or hot water.
In response to climate changing pollution, Madison Gas and Electric (MGE), University of Wisconsin, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Dane County United, Citizens Utility Board, RENEW Wisconsin, Clean Wisconsin, Sierra Club, Madison Area Clean Energy Coalition, and Sustain Dane joined together to will seek ways through Mpowering Madison to reduce citywide emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by 100,000 tons by 2011.

Finally, the world has most likely passed the point of maximum production of petroleum (sometimes called peak oil). Our energy needs in the future will come from renewable sources, not because it’s the nice thing to do, it will be the only thing to do. We will only inflict pain and disruption on ourselves during the energy transition if we wait until the big bad wolf of supply decline huffs and puffs and topples our flimsy economy built on the myth of limitless and inexpensive petroleum.

Please contact Madison’s alders to ask them to reject the amendment. The following e-mail address will get your message to all alders at once:

Please contact the alders BEFORE they begin budget deliberations next Tuesday evening.