Hillsborough aims for 100 percent clean energy by 2050

The Hillsborough Board of Commissioners voted to become the first town in North Carolina to commit to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. 

This gradual transition will work towards powering the city with different types of clean energy such as wind and solar.  After considering Hillsborough's limited capabilities as a small town, the board plans to create a task force of citizens, many of whom have backgrounds in energy efficiency, to help plan the path for the town.

After the U.S. withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement, political leaders across the country pledged to follow the pact. Over ten states have pledged to uphold the agreement, not including North Carolina. 

Hillsborough Commissioner Jenn Weaver said complete energy efficiency is not an easy task, and it will take community engagement to meet their goal. She said this dedication to counter climate change will hopefully push other towns to follow in Hillsborough’s footsteps. 

“It feels like we are in a very urgent time where we are experiencing ill effects of climate change and feels very important for local governments to act,” she said. 

The unanimous vote by the board for this resolution emphasizes their commitment to make Hillsborough a progressive and energy efficient town. The first step will be deciding what kinds of energy the town will use while staying in a budget. As the cost of renewable energy decreases, this commitment becomes more feasible for smaller towns. 

Clean energy also brings the prospect of new jobs to Hillsborough, as thousands of young students from the Triangle graduate. 

Hillsborough’s dedication to clean energy comes just one week after Orange County affirms the same pledge. With the same goal in mind, the area hopes to draw in those seeking to make a change in energy efficiency. 

Mayor Pro Tem Kathleen Ferguson said the resolution was spearheaded by residents that have suggested the resolution since the beginning of the summer, when the Paris agreement unfolded. Feedback has shown that the resolution is well supported by the townspeople.

“Sustainability is critical for long term quality of life,” Ferguson said. 

Innovation and creativity continue to push the agenda for the Hillsborough Board of Commissioners. When they reconvene to discuss the resolution further in October, the board hopes to establish a basic outline for future energy plans. 

Hillsborough hopes to be the guiding example and to show that energy efficiency is feasible for other towns across the state, Ferguson said, and the townspeople’s dedication to a clean and healthy environment represent their investment in the continuing progress of Hillsborough.

@carollevinee

city@dailytarheel.com

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