Cornish Energy Committee

Film & Discussion “Clean Disruption” on December 12, 2017 at Philip Read Memorial Library 7-8:30 PM. Please join us!

Mission Statement: The Town of Cornish takes local steps to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Appointed by Selectboard in 2007) 

Please contact Mary Boyle if you would like to join the CEC or if you have some ideas to share with this committee: or phone 603-252-7898


Ready for 100% Renewable Energy ACTION Launch Party will be on November 14, 2017 at the Plainfield Town Hall on Rt. 12 A at 7 PM.

Click on some of these links for some very interesting videos that will help to put our proposal in perspective.

This is a 10 min. video in which Alan Jones from Sydney, Australia, Mayor Bob Dixon from Greensburg, KS, Mayor Rex Parris of Lancaster, CA, Bertram Fleck of Rhein-Hunsrueck County, Germany, and Gil Friend of Palo Alto, CA — talk about 100% Renewable goals.
This is a 14 minute video in which Mayor Bob Dixon from Greensburg, KS speaks in detail about the town’s transition to 100% renewable electricity.
This is a 4 minute video – Rebuilding Greensburg, KS — all LEEDS zero energy homes & town buildings.
This is a 9 min. video — which shows how a small town in Massachusetts, which has its own municipal utility, set up a grid-scale battery storage system.  It is saving $400,000 in energy costs per year, has made the town more resilient, and the town will have paid off its installation costs in less than 7 years. Watch it here.
Here is a one hour video entitled Clean Disruption of Energy & Transportation in which Stanford Professor and Entrepreneur, Tony Seba, discusses the economic & technological disruption that will bring about imminent global transformation in energy sources.  This is a really interesting video!!! Very uplifting and hopeful.


READY FOR 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY – Questions & Answers

What is the “Ready for 100 Action” campaign?
     The goal of the “Ready for 100 Action” campaign is to commit Cornish to use 100% clean renewable and sustainable energy. The campaign targets three energy sectors: electric power, heating, and transportation. The goal is to move to 100% renewable electric power by 2030 and to have 100% renewable heating and transportation by 2050, for municipal operations, residences, businesses, schools, churches and any other energy use in town.

What is “renewable” and what is “sustainable”?
     Every energy source has some environmental cost. Renewables include a mix of on and off-shore wind, industrial and residential solar generation, concentrated solar, small hydro and geothermal sources. These sources work hand-in-hand with a variety of storage technologies and reductions in energy needs via conservation and demand management. This mix yields the lowest environmental impact and the best path to sustainability.

Why now?
     The idea of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels is driven by many concerns. The biggest issue is the cost to the globe of putting 30 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year.
There is a strong financial case for this goal. The market for fossil fuels will become increasingly volatile. There are substantial national and international political costs of maintaining our current energy requirements. We need to move away from energy commodities that become more expensive as they become scarcer.
In addition, switching to renewable energy will be the dominant model in the very near future worldwide.  The costs of renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar, continue to decline.  Technological advances in renewable energy and battery storage are moving at a very rapid pace. If we don’t take advantage of this strong trend toward renewables, we may find ourselves left behind financially and technologically.

Is 100% by 2050 feasible?
     Trends in future generation of storage technologies and the successful growing industries of wind and solar justifies this optimism.

  • Electric vehicles are available, and their battery power is moving vehicles 200 miles and more on one charge. More EV charging stations are around now. There is one that the Cornish Energy Committee installed at Anne’s Country Convenience Store on Rt. 12A. The CEC will be promoting the installation of more EV charging stations in the near future.
  • Electric buses are being widely used, and even electric heavy-duty vehicles are being developed and used today in Germany.

Achieving this goal does NOT mean solar on every home.
     Working toward a 100% renewable energy target by 2050 involves more than just putting solar panels on houses.  It means reducing energy use, weatherizing homes, transitioning to electric vehicles, moving away from oil and gas to heat our homes and water.

Will I be forced to move to renewable energy?
     No! The targets are non-binding. This commitment is meant to serve as a compass to guide future decisions in our town.  The goal is for both town and residents to move to renewables. We expect the town to make prudent fiscal choices which will increasingly be for renewable energy.  For example, each time a town vehicle needs to be replaced, the hope is that it will be replaced with a vehicle that runs on a renewable source of energy.  The town will set an example with their transition to 100% renewable energy and will help facilitate the switch for town residents.  The idea is that the town will lead by example and will create positive incentives for residents to follow the same path.  This could include planning future building codes to embrace the latest energy efficiency innovations, helping to make homes and buildings more efficient, creating community solar opportunities for residents, and offering incentives for electric vehicles.

Are other towns, cities and regions working toward similar goals?
     Yes!  As of Sept. 1, 2017, 37 cities and towns across the U.S. have committed to achieving ambitious renewable energy goals, and so far 5 U.S. cities have succeeded in reaching 100% renewable electricity.

 What plan can Cornish follow to achieve the 100% renewable energy target?
     It is important to understand that each town is unique.  There is no fixed plan that every town must follow.  Each town needs to explore its own resources and strengths, and devise a plan that will work for that town. The CEC can be depended upon to help the town with implementing these plans.

What are the first steps that would need to be taken?
     * Promote energy efficiency
–Reduce energy use wherever possible
–Use more energy efficient appliances as much as possible.
* Encourage all homes to be weatherized
– Well-sealed and insulated
– to reduce the amount of energy needed to heat the home.
By the way, a Weatherize campaign will begin in the spring of 2018! Plainfield and Cornish were selected to be part of this exciting endeavor. Be on the lookout for more info!

How much will this cost?
     There are no specific costs tied to this proposal. Instead it establishes a framework for future growth that emphasizes sustainability and energy efficiency.

How can a town find the money to pay for investment in renewables?
     Renewable energy projects can be financed in various ways:
A. Grants (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture rural energy programs, federal, state, and local organizations)
          B. Loans (federal, local banks)
          C. Power purchase agreements (PPA’s) where an investor pays the up-front costs and the user pays monthly costs equivalent to or less than existing monthly energy bills.

There are proven significant financial returns on investments made in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects by towns across the U.S. and around the world.  Returns on such investments have saved towns significant amounts of money, and have also generated revenue for towns, through the selling of excess renewably generated energy, or even through new businesses that grow from the manufacture or distribution of new renewable energy technology.

Proposed Warrant Article for Town Meeting March 13, 2018

To see if the Town of Cornish, NH will vote to commit to a goal of 100% reliance on renewable sources of electricity by 2030 and renewable sources for all other energy needs, including for heating and transportation, by 2050. The impetus for this goal is to achieve the public benefits of protecting the economic, health and social well-being of our citizens; to reduce energy costs to the community and to keep energy dollars in the local economy; to reduce the risks to the community associated with any future escalation in energy prices; and to address the threat of global climate change. The goal of this article is to effect policy at the local level in a fiscally responsible manner that will support and encourage individual action to shift toward renewable energy. It does not mandate changes to private property or the behavior of private citizens.

     More than 23 homes went solar in Cornish through Solarize Cornish-Plainfield beginning in 2014. Not to forget to mention that there were already homes with solar power before the Solarize campaign. And more solar installations happened in the subsequent years.

This is a list of Cornish Energy Committee public presentations and educational events and other examples of work within the town on energy-related topics.

“How you can personally reduce carbon dioxide emissions and possibly save money at the same time!” Andrew J. Friedland, Professor and Chair, Dartmouth College Environmental Studies Program. July 20, 2007, 7:30 p.m.

“A Conversation with Marc Rosenbaum of Energysmiths.” February 15, 2008
“Ecological Footprinting Workshop with Jim Merkel” author of Radical Simplicity. April 4, 2008, 7 p.m.

“Button Up, NH! in Cornish. – Home Weatherization Workshop” Bob Walker –SERG.October 5, 2011, 7 p.m.

“RISING GAS PRICES! What are the options? A panel discussion about the proposed bus route along the Route 10 transportation corridor from Claremont to Lebanon.” Panelists: Aaron Brown, Moderator, Vital Communities; Pat Crocker, Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission; Barbara Brill, Community Alliance, and Susan Berry, Upper Valley Rideshare; along with Jody Schubert (Cornish resident) and Rod Wendt (Plainfield resident) selected speakers within the audience.

Energy Expo with Plainfield in 2009
Energy Expo with Plainfield in 2011

Visible presence at the Cornish Annual Town Meetings in 2011. 2012, and 2013 with display posters of Town of Cornish energy use gathered from MEAP data on the STOCC.

Energy Technical Assistance & Planning (ETAP) for NH Communities representative Mike McCrory from UVLSRPC met with the Energy Committee to discuss software and technical assistance to Cornish. This two year program, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and administered through NH Office of Energy and Planning, ended April 2012. This program will close with nothing to replace it. However, Mike will still be available to work with us afterward for consultation or advice. Example of results of his consultation: Idling reduction efforts are underway. Erected “No Idling” sign in front of Cornish Town Offices. Looking into monitoring system for town vehicles as suggested by Mike McCrory.

Energy audit walk around with MEAP appointed auditor.

Cornish Energy Committee Annual Reports submitted for town meeting.

Numerous articles written in town newspaper, Consider This, edited and produced by Nancy Wightman and Janice Orion. The Cornish Energy Committee has submitted articles to serve as community outreach that have appeared in Consider This issues July, August, November, December 2007 and January, February, March, April 2008.