Fayetteville First In The State To Adopt Energy Action Plan

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- Twelve years from now, city leaders in Fayetteville want all city facilities to operate solely on clean energy.

City council voted to adopt an energy action plan Tuesday (Jan. 2). This makes Fayetteville the first city in the state to do so, and the 54th city in the nation to adopt the goal of using 100 percent clean energy.

There are five different sectors in the city's energy action plan, including transportation and energy supply and delivery.

Sustainability and parking director Peter Nierengarten said their highest goal is to reduce the city's greenhouse gas admission by 80 percent by 2050.

“A city operational goal of being 100 percent clean energy for all city buildings, all city operations including the wastewater treatment plants by the year 2030. We also want to have 50 percent of our entire city of Fayetteville powered by clean energy by the year 2030,” he said.

Nierengarten said people living in Fayetteville will be able to use clean energy through the city's two utility companies.

According to city leaders, Southwestern Electric Power Company is building the nation's largest wind farm in Oklahoma and Ozarks Electric has opened a one-megawatt solar array in Springdale.

“Any member of Ozarks electric who buys electricity from them can sign up and purchase shares in that solar array and offset and receive their electricity directly from that solar array,” he said.

Part of the city's plan includes getting more electric vehicle charging stations. They are hoping to buy more through a grant to put in different parts of town.

Director of the Arkansas chapter of the sierra club, Glen Hooks said this is a tremendous step for the city. He says this is great not only for pollution, but also jobs.

“I think what you are going to see now is that Fayetteville has put together a careful and comprehensive plan that`s realistic and very doable. I think now that a big city in Arkansas has done this, we are going to see other cities take a look at it and we'll see more and more cities making this commitment,” he said.

The decision passed at last night's city council meeting by a 7 to 1 vote. Alderman John La Tour voted against it. He told 5NEWS he believes it will add a new level of regulations that will deter development in the east and west parts of town.