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
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.”