December 31, 2021
1,500 residents switch to renewable energy through Arlington Community Electricity.
The Town of Arlington, working with Mothers Out Front and other community partners, set a goal to double the number of participants voluntarily choosing to purchase extra renewable energy through their electric bills from Arlington Community Electricity (ACE). They met this goal on December 31, 2021 when they reached 1,500 participants opting up to either 50% or 100% renewable energy. Simply switching to electric does not impact climate change, as most electricity is generated by burning natural gas or coal; ACE guarantees that the electricity is generated by clean and sustainable renewable technologies.
Renewable energy comes from sources that can be replenished unlike fossil fuel alternatives that have only a temporary supply like oil, gas, and coal. Harnessing fossil fuels for electricity has negative impacts on the environment. Fracking for oil, natural gas, and other materials found underground has been known to cause earthquakes and water pollution. The process of extracting these finite resources destroys natural habitats. Additionally, the use of fossil fuels has devastating consequences. Coal produces particulate matter that is bad for air quality and human health. The carbon dioxide emissions produced when fossil fuels are burned is a major contributor to global warming and climate change.
Renewable energy has many benefits. It doesn’t produce greenhouse gases and can reduce air pollution. Supporting renewable energy diversifies the energy supply, ensuring energy security. In addition to these perks, renewables boost the economy by providing jobs in manufacturing, installation etc. Systemic change in the market for energy happens because of people who are willing to pay extra for solar, wind and sensitive hydroelectricity. Individual actions to opt-up create collective action by encouraging more people to do the same.
Volunteers in the community have contributed to collective action on a larger scale by advocating and speaking-out for the use of extra renewable energy. When the effort first began in 2017 it took four years to get one thousand houses on board. Over the course of the program, Mothers Out Front Arlington has put social networks to good use by holding over fifty house parties to convince hundreds of people to switch to green energy. In the Mothers Out Front page on ACE Testimonials, Arlington residents explain their reasons for opting-up: some recognize the affordability and convenience of the program while others explain the value of investing in green developing technology. Despite slightly varied reasoning, all participants agree that together by opting-up together, the community can make a difference.
Arlington Community Electricity provides several ways to opt-up to more renewables. The standard product, Arlington Local Green, includes 11% more Renewable Energy Certificates than required by the Commonwealth. Arlington residents can choose to opt-up to Local Greener, which includes 50% of renewable energy, and Local Greenest, which includes 100% renewable energy. The renewables come only from solar, wind, anaerobic digestion, and low-impact hydro, supporting green energy infrastructure located within New England. Learn more about the program on their website here.