By Karl Grossman


Larry Cantwell, the supervisor of East Hampton on Long Island, N.Y., sat back the other day with satisfaction about the town’s plan to have 100% of its electricity come from renewable energy—safe, clean, green power—by 2020.

That’s just four years away!

In 2014, East Hampton became the first municipality on the East Coast to adopt a 100% renewable energy goal. Other governments in the U.S.—among them cities such as San Francisco—have done the same, as have nations around the globe. And, it’s something that can be done all over the world.

On Long Island, going to green energy is especially meaningful because seven to eleven nuclear power plants were planned for it in the 1960s and 70s. In the parlance of nuclear promoters at the time, Long Island was to become a “nuclear park.”

One nuclear plant was completed, Shoreham Nuclear Power Station 1, but it was stopped from going into commercial operation and subsequently abandoned in the face of grassroots public opposition and actions by local and New York State governments.

When his town board in 2014 adopted—unanimously—a resolution to have all the town’s electricity come from renewable sources, Mr. Cantwell said: “Making the switch to clean energy is just the right thing to do, both for the environment and for keeping more money in the local economy and creating jobs here.”

At East Hampton Town Hall recently he commented: “We’re doing it!”

East Hampton is to meet its 100% renewable energy goal through solar energy, from panels on town-owned land and rooftops, and from wind energy from off-shore wind turbines like those Rhode Island-based Deepwater Wind is now completing east of the town in the ocean near Block Island.

In areas around the nation and world, there would be different mixes for implementing 100% renewable energy. The mix depends on energy resources, although solar power runs through all green-energy menus.

An energy revolution is underway.

“The World Can Transition to 100% Clean, Renewable Energy,” declares the website of The Solutions Project headquartered California. “Together ,” it continues, “we can build a stronger economy, healthier families, and a more secure future. 100% clean is 100% possible. Join us.” The website is full of information on 100% renewable energy programs happening. Among the articles: “139 Countries Could Be 100% Renewable by 2050.” The Solutions Project, supported by leading U.S. foundations including the Park Foundation, last month launched “The Fighter Fund, a new grant-making program for community-based groups on the front lines of the fight for clean energy and climate justice.”

And a fight is occurring. “Holding Clean Energy Hostage,” was the title of an article last month by Cathy Kunkel of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis and M.V. Ramana of the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University in the journal Reason in Revolt. Companies tied to “traditional” energy—coal, oil, gas and nuclear—seek to block “renewable energy every step of the way.”

The sun does not send a bill. Neither does the wind. Once the infrastructure for renewable energy is built, energy flows—freely. …read more