Clinton May Revive Energy Committee Charge
The Clinton Town Council will consider reestablishing the town’s Energy Committee at its next regular meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Feb 3. If formed, the committee will tackle energy needs around the town that could be costing residents and business money and affecting the environment.
At the Jan. 20 Town Council meeting, Paul Gebauer, the former head of the Clinton Energy Committee, explained its history and the goals of a new committee, if established.
“We started the committee in 2014 and we did a lot of good work up until 2017 then we kind of lost steam,” Gebauer told the council.
According to Gebauer, the committee installed solar panels on several buildings around town, along with an electric vehicle recharging station, and provided energy efficient light bulb swaps.
Gebauer explained that there were several reasons why the committee fizzled out in 2017 but, he said, chief among them were structural changes at Eversource. Specifically, the company radically changed its department devoted to community outreach, which hurt the committee.
“We really relied on them for a lot of our outreach stuff and a lot of our projects,” Gebauer said.
Additionally, Gebauer explained the committee had a small membership and then, in 2018, the committee was converted into the Sustainability Committee, which undertook similar but different initiatives.
The Sustainability Committee, which Gebauer also used to chair, works with the Sustainable CT municipal certification program to implement initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life in town. Some of the initiatives would overlap with actions that an energy committee could take, but many others fell into unrelated categories. For example, the establishment of Clinton’s Art District in 2019 was an action taken by the Sustainability Committee that wouldn’t fall under the Energy Committee’s purview.
Sustainable CT offers grants for towns based on which initiatives are completed and Gebauer said that a new Energy Committee could help the Sustainability Committee accomplish energy-related initiatives such as making each municipal building as energy efficient as possible.
Gebauer shared with the Harbor News a preliminary list of objectives for the committee. Those objectives included cataloging all energy consumption at municipal and school buildings so that the committee can assess usage trends and then address issues from there, converting the town’s fleet of vehicles to electric, spreading awareness of energy-saving programs to homeowners and businesses, and exploring the possibility of turning a landfill at 117 Old Nod Road into a solar panel farm that could save the town substantial money.
The Town Council is now soliciting names of those interested in serving on the committee and then is expected form the committee at its next meeting on Feb. 3 at 8 a.m.