“Mayors used to have a direct relationship with the leadership of the investor-owned utility. That person is now three states away. Mayors are recognizing that they don’t have the same reach or leverage or engagement that they used to have,” Thornton said.
As a result, mayors and city leaders increasingly believe it is their responsibility to bring clean energy to their cities. They feel compelled to act, sometimes through organizations like C-40 Cities, a network of megacities worldwide working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “It is a trend that we really see emerging,” Thornton said.
This trend is good for clean energy in many ways. Decisions made close to home evoke less not-in-my-back-yard opposition to new infrastructure. Locals develop a sense of ownership in energy projects, and therefore are more likely to support than oppose them.
So while it is good news that clean energy and energy efficiency are getting attention from the highest office holder in the U.S., the industry also stands to gain from the home team. Enlightening the mayor and the city council about the benefits of efficiency may prove as important as winning support from the President and Congress.
This article first appeared in RealEnergyWriters.com and is reprinted with permission.
Photo of power lines by Apples Eyes Studio via Shutterstock.