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RPU Brings 100% Renewable Energy Plans Forward

August 13, 2019 10:32 AM

(ABC 6 News) - Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) is moving forward with plans to use 100% renewable energy by 2030.

On Monday, RPU staff brought those plans in front of City officials for the first time.

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Board members are looking at two options: 

  • The first provides energy through a combination of wind, solar and hydro. It would require building a combustion turbine as an emergency backup and comes with the price tag of just over $1 billion.
  • The second option also provides energy through wind, solar and hydro … except it's "fossil free”, using battery power as the backup. The emergency supply from batteries may only be able to sustain Rochester for about 4 hours and this option comes with a price tag of $1.165 billion.

“There will be a point that we will have to make investments and that is 2025 for the larger [gas turbine] unit,” said Jeremy Sutton, the Director of Power Resources at RPU. “[That scenario] looks like the average impact to the average residential consumer would be less than $2 a month on their bill."

Since RPU's decisions not only impact the environment but also ratepayer's bills, officials are seeking public input.

More than a dozen made it out to Monday afternoon's meeting, showing their support for going green.

"When you have a packed study session in the middle of the day on a weekday and the room is packed with people who are passionate who want to hear about this, I think that is a really good barometer for how passionate Rochester is in doing the right thing by the climate,” said Rick Morris, the Clean Energy Organizer for the Sierra Club of Rochester. 

RPU will continue to work on both plans until it comes to building a gas turbine or acquiring battery power.

Both the City and the public will be included in the process, because at some point, RPU will ask City Council for bond approval.

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