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Lawrence plans to adopt 100% renewable energy

Lawrence green initiative
Posted at 10:35 AM, Dec 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-19 18:07:53-05

LAWRENCE, Kan. — The city of Lawrence could run on 100% renewable energy in the coming years.

On Tuesday, the City Commission voted to adopt a policy recommendation from its Sustainability Advisory Board to be 100% clean.

The city has a goal of using clean, renewable energy in the year 2025 for electricity in municipal operations, 2035 for electricity community-wide, 2040 for all energy sectors in municipal operations and 2050 for all energy sectors community-wide.

City officials say it’s urgent to start working on this plan now.

"In Lawrence, some of the changes in climate that we’re already starting to see are flooding, which we experienced a lot of this spring and summer, and the other component is the extreme heat and extreme cold," Sustainability Director Jasmin Moore told 41 Action News.

In efforts to be proactive, Lawrence has already placed solar panels on top of one fire station in the city and some other panels on top of the train station.

"We have a lot of infrastructure already, and so we want to identify ways that we can retrofit or identify the source of energy and how that can shift from a fossil fuel-based source to a more renewable energy source,” Moore said.

According to city documents, the fiscal impact to the city is unknown at this time. Moore said the city could see a cost savings because of some available incentives.

"We do know that utilities like Evergy offer some renewable participation," Moore said. "Right now that’s not available for our area, but we hope they do soon so that we can opt into those services."

Evergy officials said going green is a trend that’s sparking a lot of attention.

"There’s been a lot of interest in renewable energy and especially with these larger customers as they can see opportunities for savings combined with that," said Gina Penzig, manager of external communications for Evergy. "It’s a great draw for Kansas."

Penzig said the company will meet with Lawrence officials soon to figure out how to implement this plan and “look at some of the different ways they can meet that goal."

It’s a goal many in Lawrence say is the right thing to do.

"I think its up to local communities to start this trend and let it move upward,” Lawrence resident Janet Dehnert told 41 Action News.

"I think it’s a great idea, and I think it’s long overdue,” Lawrence resident Lon Dehnert agreed.

The Lawrence City Commission will take a final vote on the plan in January.