River Forest officials took two additional steps toward becoming a more environmentally friendly community at the Oct. 11 Village Board meeting, adopting a resolution endorsing the 2021 Climate Action Plan for the Chicago region and voting to award contracts for green energy for the village’s streetlights and pumping station.
The Climate Action Plan was unveiled in July by the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and created in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, with support from the European Union, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and the Metropolitan Planning Council.
The Climate Action Plan resulted from an assessment of regional climate-related risks and calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050.
While the scope of the plan is regional, encompassing 280 municipalities and almost 9 million people, all of the actions called for can be scaled to the municipal level, said Edith Makra, director of environmental initiatives for the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, of which River Forest is a member.
According to a press release issued in July when the Climate Action Plan was unveiled, municipal governments are a critical cog in the wheel, because they “are uniquely positioned to lead, enact policies and encourage others to take action.”
Trustee Katie Brennan stressed the importance of the mitigation goal of net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adaptation goal of persistent, equitable climate adaptations, along with related targets and objectives.
“By adopting this resolution this is what we will do and what we should do,” she said.
Mitigation targets are to reduce GHG emissions from 2005 levels by 50 percent before 2030, by 65 percent before 2040 and by at least 80 percent by 2050. Adaptation targets are climate-resilient governance by 2030, resilience across jurisdictions by 2040 and cohesive, resilient communities by 2050.
In response to a question from Trustee Bob O’Connell regarding 2005 baselines, Trustee Lisa Gillis said the Sustainability Commission has baselines from 2007.
Village President Cathy Adduci thanked Brennan for her leadership in pursuing environmentally friendly solutions, dating back to her tenure as chair of the Sustainability Commission.
“We’ve done quite a bit,” she said. “I think this is a wonderful commitment.”
The board voted to award three-year electricity supply contracts to two different energy providers, replacing current three-year contracts that expire in December. The contract for the pumping station was awarded to Dynegy Energy Services for $0.06603 per kilowatt hour, up from $0.061 under the expiring contract. The contract for street lighting was awarded to AEP Energy for $0.04363 per kilowatt hour, up from $0.031 under the expiring contract.
In a memo to the board, Jeff Loster, director of public works and development services, explained that the rates were obtained through the collaborative efforts of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and energy sources provided by Satori Energy Inc.
Satori provided rates for energy pricing if sourced from green energy providers in addition to standard energy pricing, providing the village with an option tied to the Sustainability Commission’s goal of reducing the carbon footprint of the village through the use of renewable sources of energy, Loster said.