Letter: City Council should commit to all-green fleet

Graphic by Lori Deaton

In the Aug. 8 edition of the Mountain Xpress, Liz Carey misquoted Ken Brame around electric buses and increased electricity demand [“Nothing But Renewable: SACEE Votes on 100 Percent Green Electricity Goal for Asheville.”] Ken is part of the Western North Carolina Renewables coalition; they are pushing the Sustainability Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment to take a stronger position, asking for not just 100 percent renewable electricity, but transitioning all energy use at city facilities — in vehicles, heat and hot water — to renewable power. By greening the city’s fleet, fuel costs will be cut around 30 cents per mile, and Asheville will continue to develop infrastructure so that residents might also choose EVs.

Asheville can lead this charge, starting by the City Council committing to a green fleet by 2030. This commitment is an important benchmark in Buncombe County’s goal of being 100 percent renewable by 2042, including government operations, personal vehicles, homes and businesses. It was disappointing to see that Council member [Julie] Mayfield was not strongly committed to a timely transition away from fossil fuel based transportation. Other cities in North Carolina like Hillsborough, Carrboro and Durham have already made commitments to 100 percent renewable energy in all sectors, and Chapel Hill has a draft resolution likely to come forward in the next few months. These commitments are part of a growing movement of local governments taking action where federal climate leadership has stagnated. Lowering carbon emissions cannot happen soon enough, as we are seeing the hottest year on record, while severe weather and fires wreak havoc across the globe.

— Michelle Myers
Asheville

Editor’s note: Xpress published a correction to the above-mentioned article in the Aug. 22 issue and updated the article online to more accurately reflect Brame’s comments. In addition, Myers sent an a follow-up note the next day: “I just wanted to send an update that SACEE passed a resolution on to Council [Aug. 15] calling for 100 percent renewable energy for city operations by 2030 and supporting the communitywide goal the county set by 2042. This includes transportation and all other energy consumption beyond electricity. Staff will develop a plan/ budget for achieving the goal and come back to SACEE and the Council with more specifics.

“I was encouraged to hear Council member Mayfield speak to the urgency of including transport in carbon-reduction planning, as greenhouse gases from vehicles now exceeds emissions from electricity production. Hopefully, she will support the all-energy component at Council and help Asheville develop a road map for an all-green fleet, as well as the investment in electrified heat and hot water.”

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2 thoughts on “Letter: City Council should commit to all-green fleet

  1. Jim Berel

    These kind of aspirational goals would have a lot more credibility if they didn’t turn a blind eye to science as much as the conservative leaning opponents clinging to their bibles. It’s all just overindulgent tribal thinking attempting to reinforce personal beliefs in place of fact. Any conversation about energy efficiency or environmental preservation must take all factors into account. These continued fallacies about converting to 100% green or fully renewable anything does not help anyone, and calls the merits of the entire endeavor into question. The much overused mantra of sustainability being a panacea and overall good thing is becoming increasingly tired.

    Rather than spouting political rhetoric, how about we take a look at the actual facts? Anything running on electric, other than pure solar, is dependent on electrical energy provided by the power grid which runs predominantly on petroleum or coal. Unless you plan to replace all the buses with solar or man powered vehicles, the position is disingenuous. We should be talking about scaling and apportioning resources efficiently and cost effectively to use less energy overall. The intelligent approach should be energy efficiency, not sustaining the beliefs of ill-informed activists.
    Greenies never want to talk about that, instead favoring conversion of everything to electric and ignoring all the waste, infrastructure replacement and pollution transference to someplace else that usually results in a net loss of real economic, service or environmental sustainability. Skewing all the data to support only the benefits of something while ignoring the costs is no way to make a rational argument. When these committees start using all the relevant data, maybe they can make a compelling argument to taxpayers rather than their limited tribe.

  2. jason

    Committing to an all green fleet should be low on the agenda. Too many bigger problems than this feel good stuff.

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