Newburyport Massachusetts, Energy Independence

Here are three ideas I’d like to raise about energy independence for Newburyport.

Let me start with having all heads nod their assent to the proposition that energy supply is now dangerously tied to geopolitical forces of immense scale. Ticking down the list of hot spots and problems from Korean, Nigeria, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and the newly insatiable Chinese and India demand for oil…can make you break into a cold sweat.

So the idea that we need to work towards more local and regional independence seems to be just plain common sense.

Here are a few ways Newburyport could begin to solve the problem:

1) All vehicles used by the city, including school buses, police cars and public works trucks should be converted on a four or five year schedule to either hybrids, fuel flexible vehicles like ethanol/ diesel mixes, etc. The goal would be to “average down” our city fuel costs by, say 15%.

2) We should consider floating “Energy Independence Bonds” to be used to put in place an appropriate mix of alternative energy systems for all municipal and school buildings. Starting with the schools with electric heat, we should invest in whatever array of building scale energy production and savings technology our smartest minds can develop.

3) We should begin to hold hearings to add to our zoning and development laws the idea that ‘green building’ will be encouraged. We might even include a first year property tax ‘discount’ for people installing new energy saving ideas. Allowing building orientation to maximize solar gain, allowing minor building height adjustment for any roof top energy systems.

There are people in the city who are working on various ideas to move us towards energy independence. Two people I’m aware of are Mark Guay and Molly Ettenborough. There are committees being formed, maybe you can join one.

We can do this…we just have to get the ball rolling.

Ron Martino, Newburport