The city of Bloomington is amending its municipal electricity aggregation contract to include a 100 percent renewable energy target.
The agreement had previously required that 10 percent of the city's electricity come from renewable sources.
Getting to the 100 percent renewable energy target will come through the electricity company buying renewable energy credits from green energy firms.
By a 7-1 vote, the Bloomington City Council approved the change at a Monday meeting.
Members of Illinois People's Action, a faith-based community group, have organized around this issue, and many were at the council meeting holding signs that read, "People and Planet First!"
Illinois People's Action issued a statement about the renewable energy shift, which stated in part:
The passage of this resolution makes Bloomington the only city in an aggregate pool of 35 municipalities to support renewable energy at 100 percent.
This win represents a step in the right direction for people and planet... and it was won through organizing. When community members discovered that city's municipal aggregation contract had been botched--taking support for renewables from the 100 percent to the 10 percent state-mandated minimum level--they quickly reached out to Illinois People's Action and got down to work.
At the beginning, there was a lot of confusion. Almost no information regarding these contract negotiations or this decision to withdraw support from renewables was available to the public. Meanwhile, the energy supplier's website deceptively advertised to the public that the current contract still included 100 percent support for renewable energy. It seemed that this significant alteration had slipped under everyone's radar, including the Bloomington City Council's.
After much digging and many difficult meetings, the team of community leaders was able to get to the bottom of what had gone wrong with this contract and took action to fix what was broken. We held the city accountable to their promises, we drove e-mails, phone calls and people to this important council meeting and in the end we won back support for renewables.
At Monday's meeting, council members voted by a 7-1 vote to support the passage of the resolution, which contained a directive to amend the current contract immediately. This change means that for every 1 Megawatt of mixed energy used by Bloomington residents, a Renewable Energy Credit (REC) will be purchased from wind farms to create a 100 percent offset.
Beyond that, the resolution also includes strong language regarding the city's commitment to renewable energy in the future, 'Incentivizing renewable energy through purchase of Renewable Energy Credits is in the interest of public health and society in general...Renewable energy is beneficial to the health of the community and the United States as a whole. The city council expresses its support for achieving the 100 percent renewable energy designation in all future years and contracts.'