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Online Tool to Help Municipalities Adopt Renewable Energies
A famed energy consulting group has launched an internet tool to demonstrate how renewable energy can be an integral part of economic development.
The Rocky Mountain Institute says its ‘Community Energy Opportunity Finder’ will determine a community's “best bets for energy solutions that benefit the local economy, the community and the environment.”
Municipalities create jobs and a tax base by attracting industry, and often offer tax breaks to new companies. The new entities then compete with existing firms for resources and increase infrastructure costs, which often puts the community into a worse state than before it attracted the new investments. The Finder is designed to be used by economic development advocates, business owners who want to reduce operating costs, communities that want to ensure their economic development is compatible with sustainable development principles and renewable energy advocates.
“Renewable energy is an important piece of a comprehensive and self-reliant community energy plan,” says the site. “When it becomes necessary to increase the energy supply or if a community wants to replace polluting energy sources with clean, renewable ones, community leaders can consider developing the local solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydropower resource potential.”
The Community Energy Opportunity Finder was developed by Rocky Mountain Institute staff with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and support from the U.S. Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Renewable Energy Policy Project, American Wind Energy Association, and more than 50 others.