Christine Newsom: Clean, sustainable energy for Nevada County | TheUnion.com

Christine Newsom: Clean, sustainable energy for Nevada County

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Christine Newsom

"We are committed to approaching creation, energy production, and especially creation's resources in a responsible, careful and economic way. We call upon all to take measures to save energy … We strongly advocate for the priority of the development of renewable energies." — Taken from the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church, 2017-2020.

If you've been reading the pages of The Union over the past year or two, you may have noticed a convergence of several exciting developments occurring in our county to address the importance of transitioning to sustainable, non-extractive energy sources. Highlighting them are these four:

First, Nevada County has installed a series of solar arrays, including the "solar farm" on Highway 49, which will supply its facilities with 80 percent of their own energy needs. The county is currently updating its Energy Plan with goals for reducing residential, non-residential, and municipal energy consumption and emissions.

Second, Nevada City passed a resolution in August 2017 to transition to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030, and 100 percent total renewable energy by 2050.

As our little church seeks to fulfill its mandate to move toward clean, sustainable energy, we hope that all our citizens can be inspired ...

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Third, Grass Valley is currently creating an Energy Action Plan which will include voluntary strategies to reduce energy consumption in residential and non-residential buildings and facilities. A major component will be the use of solar energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Fourth, on Aug. 23, a public roundtable chaired by NID explored the possibility of creating a Community Choice Aggregation, which allows cities and counties to join together and purchase electricity from a specific, renewable source, at a cheaper price than from an investor-owned utility (such as PG&E). These aggregations are rapidly gaining popularity in California.

In a similar vein, last year the Nevada City United Methodist Church, reflecting on our Social Principles as quoted in the opening paragraph above, began to ask whether it was feasible for us to install a solar array on our beautiful 160-year-old Victorian church in the historical district of Nevada City. Fortunately, the Nevada City Planning Commission was enthusiastically supportive of our plan, and any structural concerns were allayed by the solar contractors we consulted.

Our congregation, understanding our need both to be stewards of our fragile creation, and to be fiscally responsible, were so supportive that nearly half of the bid cost was pledged before construction even began. And so, on July 25 of this year, a team from Sustainable Energy Group installed the 38 panels atop our roof, and within a week we were getting "power from above!"

We thus joined the many churches, homes, businesses and organizations in Nevada County that are saving money each month by switching to a clean, renewable energy source.

In today's world, there is so much discouraging news about how we can't do anything to solve the world's problems. As our little church seeks to fulfill its mandate to move toward clean, sustainable energy, we hope that all our citizens can be inspired by the many examples of this movement in Nevada County to decrease our contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, through the conversion to sustainable sources of energy.

Christine Newsom, on behalf of the Nevada City United Methodist Church and Society Committee.

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