Environmental groups fight for clean energy in Naperville | #students | #parents

Calls for cleaner energy have increased due to the ongoing battle against injustices done due to climate change. Cities everywhere have voiced concerns and some are making a change through the Clean Energy Alliance.

This alliance consists of organizations and agencies around the world that work together to establish clean energy in as many areas as possible. Naperville is included in their alliance with the goal of bringing clean energy to Naperville. 

“Naperville Electric sources most of its energy from coal — emitting more than two billion pounds of CO2 greenhouse gasses every year, along with mercury and other toxins,” said the Clean Energy Alliance of Naperville.

Importance of clean energy

According to the NCC Sustainable Energy Association, clean energy is “energy derived from renewable, zero-emission sources: renewables, as well as energy saved through energy efficiency (EE) measures.”

The energy sources must not cause pollution. It also must not emit carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases. Clean energy does not contribute to pollution, thus earning the term “clean.” 

In contrast, coal is unclean because it is 95% carbon which is a destructive natural gas.

“Coal is a disaster on every front. In terms of all of the energy resources we have, coal is the worst in terms of pollution (and) CO2 emissions,” said Paul Bloom, associate professor of physics.

Aside from reaping environmental benefits, clean energy has a financial advantage. Currently, wind power is cheaper than coal power since there is a constant need to buy coal. While switching to solar and wind power can be expensive, the costs only consist of maintaining solar panels and wind turbines.

According to EvWind, “replacing the costliest 500 gigawatts of coal capacity with solar and wind would cut annual system costs by up to USD 23 billion per year and yield a stimulus worth USD 940 billion, or around 1% of global GDP.”

Assisting Clean Energy Alliance of Naperville

The Clean Energy Alliance of Naperville’s goal is to convince the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency to stop using coal energy as the main source of electricity.

Green Scene has made a petition to transition Naperville from coal energy to clean energy. The petition calls for a change that benefits the environment and confronts the issue by endorsing Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). A PPA is a legal contract between an owner and a third party. Up-front costs of installation and maintenance are covered for 25 years.

However, this poses an issue on the path to partake in clean energy. The current restriction on PPAs means that most residents in Naperville do not have access to solar panels.

“College students have a bigger voice in this situation than we realize. If college students sign this (petition) and post this on social media, it is a big help. City government takes college student’s voices into account,” said Juliet Mathey, ’22, president of Green Scene.

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