Why Municipal Utilities are the Key to Unlocking Clean Energy in Cities

For many small and rural communities, investing in clean energy can often seem like a luxury simply out of reach. With already stretched city coffers, constructing new projects like wind farms or solar plants simply is not a realistic option. However, new research suggests that an important variable in the clean energy equation is whether or not a city has its own public utility.

A recent study at Binghampton University establishes a link between having a municipal energy provider and the ability to pursue clean energy and sustainable policies. City control, the research shows, allows policy makers greater freedom to develop a clean power infrastructure as well as better sustainability practices in general.

A shift away from privately held large-scale utilities might empower community leaders with the ability to implement their own unique climate action plan. Municipal control provides city leaders with greater discretion to serve their communities, provides residents with a healthier living environment and lower energy bills, and ultimately increases clean energy solutions and better sustainability practices in general.

Through local collaboration and a focus on creating a clean energy infrastructure, policy makers can lead their residents on a Path to Positive.

Municipal Utilities Drive Sustainability in Smaller Cities

Binghamton University, State University of New York | NewsWise | August 10, 2015

Newswise — BINGHAMTON, NY – Small cities and rural areas lag behind in environmental protection policymaking because they often lack the financial or technical resources needed. According to newly published research at Binghamton University, places that have municipal utilities have the capacity to pursue sustainability — and are more likely to leverage that capacity to adopt more green energy policies.

George Homsy, assistant professor of public administration at Binghamton University, looked at data from two surveys of local governments in the United States and found a positive correlation between cities with municipal power companies and those with an increased number of community-wide sustainable energy policies. These policies include things like supporting conservation measures by homeowners and local businesses, or offering incentives for green building or renewable power production.

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