When the Edmonds City Council passed its June 27 resolution supporting the Paris agreement on climate change, it also approved amendments by Councilmember Mike Nelson that call for city-owned buildings be powered completely by renewable energy by 2019; and the city’s community electricity supply to come from renewable sources by 2025.
The Sierra Club issued a news release Thursday, June 29, that said Edmonds is the first city or town in Washington state to commit to 100 percent renewable energy — and the 37th U.S. city to make such a commitment. (You can read the complete Sierra Club release here.)
Edmonds receives it electricity from Snohomish County PUD, and over 80 percent of that electricity is currently derived from renewable energy. So moving to 100 percent renewable energy in eight years “is very achievable,” Nelson told the council.
In speaking to his 12 amendments to the original resolution — which was proposed by Councilmembers Dave Teitzel and Diane Buckshnis — Nelson noted that the City of Edmonds in February 2010 completed a Climate Change Action Plan. According to that plan, Edmonds buildings account for approximately one-third of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions for lighting, heating, cooling, and cooking.
Replacing fossil fuel-derived energy with renewable energy sources for both city-owned buildings and throughout the community “is critical to achieving the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals included in both the city’s Climate Action Plan and the Compact of Mayors,” another amendment stated. The Compact of Mayors is a global coalition of city leaders addressing climate change, which the city signed on to support.
Nelson noted that the city council adopted a resolution (No. 1129) on Sept. 18, 2006 that requested semi-annual updates regarding the city’s progress in implementing several program milestones. Some of those updates and requirements have been met while others have not, so Nelson offered the following additional amendments that called for the city’s Planning Department and citizen-based Climate Protection Committee to do the following:
– Provide an annual report to the city council regarding the city’s current municipal and community-wide greenhouse gas inventory starting in 2018.
– Establish a recommended greenhouse gas emissions reduction target goal for both the near term and long term by July 1, 2018.
– Provide an update of the City’s Climate Change Action Plan and review of the specific strategies for meeting the emissions reduction target, as well as tying mitigation with adaptation measures where possible.
– Develop a workplan, including options, methods and financial resources needed and an associated timeline and milestones to achieve these renewable energy goals. (This amendment did not originally include participation by the city’s Climate Protection Committee, but was amended by the council to do so.)
Each of Nelson’s 12 amendments was considered separately by the council and all of them passed — some unanimously and some with one or a few opposing votes. While those councilmembers raising concerns said they supported the general goals of Nelson’s amendments, they noted the amendments were finalized just prior to the council meeting, so had not been reviewed by the mayor or city staff. That could be an issue because some of them may involve administrative staff time or resources.
However, Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas countered that there was plenty of time for staff to review the requirements and notify council if additional resources were needed to meet the timelines.
— By Teresa Wippel