Galesburg Chooses 100% Renewable Power - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Galesburg Chooses 100% Renewable Power

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The city of Galesburg has signed an electric contract unique in our area.

It's requiring all electricity sold to city residents come from renewable power sources.

The rate is also 20 percent cheaper than the rate currently charged to residents.

The city has been working since December to find cheaper electricity for its residents.

After voters approved giving Galesburg the power to accept electric bids as if it were buying paper or gasoline.

It's a process that's been happening all across Illinois.

Except, Galesburg is the only city in our area demanding renewable energy.

"We're looking at not just the immediate gain, but really the sustainability, what's going to help us into the future," says Mayor Salvador Garza. He says the city's contract will save Galesburg residents 20 percent on their current electric bills and push the energy industry away from dirty power sources.

"This is a great progressive move and I believe this is the trend of the future, so why not enjoy the benefit or start that benefit today," says Garza.

Alderman Peter Schwartzman says, "This is the future of energy, this is the future of Western Illinois, there's ample access, we have of resources to wind and solar as well as geothermal."

He says the push for renewable power has been steadily growing in the city. A push the energy industry can now see.

"When a community like ours says we're moving in that direction, that sends a message to all the commodity traders out there, deciding how much we're going to burn, how many turbines we're going to get, how much we're going to invest in."

Not everyone in the city approves. One alderman favored a smaller renewable contract to save residents more money. He doubted a 100 percent renewable contract will lead to cleaner energy. Schwartzman disagrees.

"They'll be built somewhere, and that's the power we have, the entity that provides us the power from here on out, has to submit its portfolio, it has to meet a certain criteria in order for it to be accepted," says Schwartzman.

"This is a push towards what's going to add greater value not only to today and tomorrow, but the days after that into the foreseeable future," says Garza.

Resident's don't have to participate in the city's electric contract.

They will receive letters in the mail allowing them to opt-out later this month.

Residents can also cancel the contract at any time.