Evanston officials have scheduled two public hearings on how to implement the electric power referendum that passed with 73 percent of the vote this week, and local activists are planning a big push for using renewable energy.

The referendum lets the city select a new default electric supplier, other than ComEd, for residential and small business customers.

The city hearings will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3, in Room 2200 of the Civic Center and at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4, at the Levy Senior Center.

Meanwhile, Citizens’ Greener Evanston, an environmental activist group, is organizing supporters to speak in favor of having the city buy 100 percent renewable energy as the new default choice at Monday’s City Council meeting.

The council is scheduled to vote on governance plans for the electric aggregation program on April 10.

After that the city will conduct a competitive bidding process to select an alternative supplier and seek a cheaper, and possibly cleaner, energy supply than is currently available through ComEd.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Save money AND go green

    If you're reading this, it's probably not the first time you've seen this message, but it bears repeating:

    By aggregating with 100% renewable energy we can both save money and go green.

    Evanston residents participating in aggregation will save $100 a year or more with 100% renewable energy, only slightly less savings than with the state-required minimum of 6% renewable. 

    More info here:


    Jonathan Nieuwsma, Citizens' Greener Evanston


    1. Be smart about renewable energy

      The number one reason that renewable energy is even competing with conventional energy sources is the billions of dollars in federal subsidies that green energy companies are given. It is true that your tax dollars (China loans) are already paying for green energy. It is also true that green energy companies cannot survive without these subsidies.

      If the city of Evanston can negotiate a contract that allows it to opt-out quickly if green energy prices start to climb because their subsidies are removed, then it is worth the risk. Evanston residents will already be able to switch at any time but will the city be stuck with nightmare energy costs that will be paid by the taxpayers?

      What our federal government needs to do is fund energy research rather than the Solyndra  type companies. In this way green energy will someday be ready to compete in the prime-time on its own footing.


      1. Stay focused

        The beauty of this is you can individually op out of the program and choose to either sign up with the deregulated power company of your choice (possibly with a renewable energy component, or not) or stay with more expensive, higher polluting subsidized 'conventional' power (nuclear, coal and natural gas).  

        Your comments make it seem as if conventional power is not subsidized, when in fact they are highly subsidized. 

        1. Most convential energy companies are

          not susidized. At least Exelon (Comed's energy company) is not subsidized.Until late last year that was your electricity supplier. I am not aware of any green energy supplier in the country that would make a profit without federal government subsidizes unless you count hydroelectric power which usually relies on nuclear power plants to back them up.

          If you are still paying for Exelon electricity, you are also paying for green power through your taxes or China loans.

          I really do not care where the city buys its electricity as long as it is the cheapest. If that happens to be 100% renewable, wonderful. I just want the city to contract a deal that they can quickly exit, if the costs start climbing at an unsustainable rate for Evanston taxpayers.


          1. Facts please

            Nuclear power has been and is currently subsizided.  Private industry did not start nuclear power overnight without tremendous subsidies when it was first starting up.  The Federal Government heavily promoted and subsidized the nascent nuclear power industry.  Currently, there is a huge amount of subsidies related to the nuclear power industry.  The Homeland Security issues associated are just one component of that, along with short term radioactive waste storage and planning for long term waste storage on Federal land.  

            Petroleum, coal and natural gas also have huge subsidies, subsidies that were put in place to get them up and running decades again but now are extremely difficult to remove.  Plus, none of the 'conventional' sources of power are paying for any of the environmental impacts associated with their use (extraction, processing, burning, etc.). 

            FYI, hydro power is a baseload power supply.  It isn't backed up by nuclear…

  2. Get the lowest cost

    It is the fiduciary responsibility of the city to get the lowest possible energy cost not green energy.  If people what green energy it is their responsibility to opt out of the program and go find it.  If the city does not go with the lowest energy cost provider it is a regressive tax on the community and hurts the poor even more. (I’m assuming the poor are the least likely to opt out of the program)

  3. Make Evanston Green

    The Evanston Climate Action Plan was adopted unanimously by the City Council, and its short-term goal was to reduce our carbon footprint by 13% by the end of 2012. Now the city has an opportunity to surpass that goal by saving its taxpayers money on their electric bills. By choosing 100% renewable electricity, the city would lower its carbon footprint by 20%. We can individually opt for electricity suppliers that will give us 100% renewable energy for prices lower than ComEd's default price. The city, representing thousands of customers, should be able to get a price that is even lower. The taxpayers win both ways, paying less money and supporting a cleaner energy source.

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