Nevada City ups its sustainability goals | TheUnion.com
Matthew Pera
Staff Writer

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Nevada City ups its sustainability goals

Nevada City hopes all of its energy use will soon come from renewable sources.

The city council adopted a resolution Wednesday establishing that goal, citing a need to take steps that will help combat global climate change.

The council joined 40 other cities across the country which have already established similar resolutions.

"It is clear that we are at a critical time," said Grass Valley resident Reed Hamilton at Wednesday's council meeting. "It's absolutely essential that the world move forward on getting away from burning petroleum, and it's clear that our national government is really not making much progress at this point, so it comes down to cities, counties and states."

Representatives from the Nevada County Green Party and the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance endorsed the resolution and said the renewable energy goal aligns with the values of both organizations.

"This is a long time coming," said Councilmember Reinette Senum. "My only regret is that it wasn't sooner. But this is the right path, and we have to do it."

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In 2015, Nevada City adopted an "energy action plan," which provided a "roadmap" for expanding energy-efficiency strategies and set a goal of reducing electricity use by 28 percent by 2020.

The city's new goal, established Wednesday, is to transition to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030, and 100 percent renewable energy — which includes phasing out fossil fuels in all sectors — by 2050.

Progress reports on those transitions are expected to be published at least every other year beginning in 2018, the resolutions states.

Interim City Manager Catrina Olsen said Wednesday that city staff hasn't had an opportunity to make a comprehensive assessment of the current state of energy usage in Nevada City.

Council Member David Parker opposed the resolution, stating that he wanted more information on the results of Nevada City's energy-saving progress in order to ensure that the goal would be attainable.

But Mayor Duane Strawser clarified that the resolution was just a pledge to work toward a goal.

The council voted 4-1 in favor of the resolution, with Parker opposed.

"How could we not try and save this world for our grandchildren? That's how I look at it," said Councilmember Evans Phelps.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Pera, email mpera@theunion.com or call 530-477-4231.