Morgantown Green Team says goals are within sight

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Morgantown Green Team is recommending several proposals to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by over 25 percent.

Jim Kotcon, Green Team Chairman, presented the proposals to city council last Tuesday that included environmentally friendly infrastructure investments that maintain agreements made in the National Mayors Climate Action Agenda.

“We’re using that as our baseline hoping that if we can at least make significant strides, then the city’s voluntary compliance can be realistic,” said Kotcon on the purpose of the recommendations.

The first measures being recommended strictly focus on green energy infrastructure. It includes a minimum $50,000 annual investment to improve energy efficiency in city buildings, replacing all of the city’s street lights with LED lighting and installing solar panels at city facilities. If one of those is achieved within the next few years, Kotcon believes the city can reach its greenhouse gas goals in the climate action agenda.

“The Green Team recommends that the city pursue conversion of all of the remaining sixteen hundred or so street lamps to LED bulbs within the next two to three years,” Kotcon said. “That step alone would meet the remaining greenhouse gas initiatives,” he said.

For long-term goals, the Green Team recommended the city phase out gas-fueled vehicles and purchase alternative fuel or electric vehicles, which Kotcon said would help double greenhouse gas emission reduction.

“Even with coal-fired electricity, the greenhouse gas reduction from an electric car is significant compared to an internal combustion engine with gasoline or diesel fuel,” said Kotcon. “With your own renewable energy, that becomes a very significant addition,” he said.

The Morgantown Green Team also urged the purchase of renewable energy credits, so energy companies can subsidize the costs of green energy production in comparison to the original production.

If a combination of those measures is enacted, Kotcon asserted that the measures marked by the National Mayors Climate Action Agenda can be achieved by Morgantown by the end of the decade. The additional actions, would mark a CO2 reduction of approximately 1,125 tons per year and would achieve goals previously made by the Morgantown Climate Action Plan.

“We recommend that the city consider a resolution to do its share and raise our greenhouse gas reduction goals from 28 percent to 52 percent by 2030,” Kotcon said.