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Bloomington, Ill., Power Deal to Emphasize Renewable Sources

The City Council voted to modify its electric aggregation agreement to achieve the equivalent of drawing its electricity solely from renewable sources.

by Maria Nagle, The Pantagraph / July 14, 2015
Bloomington, Ill. Flickr/TIm

(TNS) — The city of Bloomington, Ill., has decided to accept $100,000 a year less from the community's electricity provider in exchange for stressing renewable energy sources.

The City Council voted 7-1 to modify its electric aggregation agreement with Homefield Energy to make the trade-off to achieve the equivalent of drawing its electricity solely from renewable sources.

Residents and businesses won't see any additional cost because it is not being added to their rates, City Manager David Hales said.

"We're taking it out of the civic contribution paid to the city,” he said.

In March, the city entered into a three-year contract with Homefield Energy in which 10 percent of the electricity came from renewable energy sources, the minimum required under state law for municipalities participating in electrical aggregation.

The aggregation program allows municipalities to bundle Ameren customers’ electricity needs to attract the lowest-bidding supplier. Customers may opt-out if they wish, but otherwise they are automatically enrolled.

"The council wanted to go back and pursue the 100 percent renewable level," said City Manager David Hales.

Homefield achieves the 100 percent-renewable designation by purchasing renewable-energy credits sold by companies that generate energy through the use of renewable sources such as wind, water and solar technology.

Currently the city receives a civic contribution of about $140,000 per year from Homefield. The cost of the 100 percent renewable-energy designation would lower the contribution to approximately $40,000.

"It still leaves enough money to continue our energy efficiency program that we contract with the Ecology Action Center," Hales said.

More than a dozen people affiliated with the Illinois People's Action attended the meeting and urged the council to support the measure by holding up signs that read, "Bloomington supports renewable energy."

Ward 1 Alderman Kevin Lower cast the lone dissenting vote when the council took action on the matter Monday night. Lower said the cost to the city was too high, and residents who are interested in 100 percent-renewable energy sources can opt out of the aggregation and buy power from such sources on the open market.

©2015 The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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