Zhen Ren Chuan 2021
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Opt up to renewable electricity; 1,000 have

Last January, Joseph Curro Jr. -- an Arlington resident, Precinct 15 Town Meeting member and then vice chair of the Select Board -- offers this viewpoint about the town's green energy program. Now Arlington Community Electricity (ACE) has hit a new milestone, as 1,000 people in Arlington have voluntarily selected the 100- or 50-percent renewable-electricity options. Learn more at ArlingtonMA.gov/opt-up

Arlington Community Electricity (ACE) options"Future savings compared to Basic Service cannot be guaranteed, because future Basic Service rates are unknown."

The world is facing a climate crisis, and we need to act if we are to protect our planet for future generations. Despite reductions in automobile traffic as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 will go down as one of the warmest years on record.

This is not just a global or a national issue, but one where local communities have been called on to step up. When the federal government announced an intention to withdraw
from the Paris Climate Accords, Arlington joined thousands of other entities -- including municipal, county, state and tribal governments, faith groups, businesses and nonprofit
organizations -- to declare, “We are still in!”

ACE is the place

Accordingly, the Select Board recommitted to the work of the Clean Energy Future Committee and other local environmental partners and endorsed a goal of net zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050, which is what scientists tell us is needed to stabilize our climate.

An important part of this process is bringing more clean, renewable electricity into our Town through Arlington Community Electricity (ACE), formerly known as Community Choice Aggregation, a great program that Arlington’s Town Meeting and Select Board approved in 2017. Through a mechanism known as municipal aggregation, Arlington has been able to combine the buying power of our homes and businesses to get more renewable electricity integrated in our electricity supply. Since this program was launched, residents and businesses have prevented millions of pounds of harmful greenhouse-gas pollution.

The ACE program offers multiple electricity options. The Local Green choice is the default option and includes 11-percent more renewable electricity than required by state law. You can also choose to make more of your electricity come from renewable sources, which helps drive the energy transformation that we all need for a stable climate and a sustainable future.

You can choose to opt up to ACE’s Local Greener (5-percent additional renewable electricity) or Local Greenest (100 percent-renewable) plan. The designation Green means the additional renewable electricity comes from the cleanest sources: wind, solar, low-impact hydro and anaerobic digesters. Local means it is generated in New England. (For the energy geeks among us, this renewable electricity meets MA Class I requirements.)

I live in one of the roughly 750 households that has chosen to use 100-percent clean, local, renewable electricity for all the power that I pull from the grid. And it makes a big difference. People who have opted up are responsible for more than 30 percent of all the extra renewable electricity supplied by the ACE program since its inception.

To opt up and join the movement, fill out a quick form at ​ace.arlingtonma.gov/opt-up/​. (You’ll need your Eversource account number, which you can get from your bill.) It takes less than five minutes.

Opting up to 100-percent renewable electricity is a simple and highly effective step that you can take to help Arlington lead the way in the fight against climate change. I urge my friends and neighbors to join me and your neighbors in choosing 100-percent clean and local renewable electricity.

Sept. 22, 2020: New name spurs green electricity options

This viewpoint was published Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021, and updated July 28..

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