The City of Eau Claire is looking to invest more into solar energy

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 6:46 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The City of Eau Claire is aiming to increase its use of renewable energy over the next 30 years.

As part of the city’s proposed 2023-2027 Capital Investment Plan, the city council is looking to add two solar-powered projects that could be possible over the next couple of years.

The Eau Claire city council created an investment fund a few years ago to help reach its renewable energy goals.

“The Renewable Energy Investment Fund was created a few years ago to help implement the City Council’s 2050 carbon neutrality goal, along with 100% renewable energy goal,” Senior planner for the City of Eau Claire, Ned Noel said.

Noel says a number of projects have already been done including adding solar arrays at one Eau Claire fire station.

“One of the projects is a solar array at Fire Station #8 by the airport,” Noel said.” A solar project at the fire station, was very economical because it is a smaller building and we were able to almost meet 100% of the electrical load there.”

If the city’s capital investment plan is approved, Noel says Fire Station #5 on Patton Street could also get solar arrays.

If approved, the project could be completed in 2023.

“We can potentially couple solar array’s on the roof and some on the ground to help meet up most of the electrical load at that fire station”

Noel adds a solar-powered project at Hobbs Ice Arena is also possible with tentative completion being in 2024.

“A potential solar electric project with an LED lighting conversion, which there are some good economies there in terms of those two type of projects,” Noel said. “Reducing electricity and then also generating electricity.”

Kate Felton is one of the city council members who pushed for the carbon neutrality goal.

“I’m really proud that the city of Eau Claire was able to be at the front lines of that, to do things like invest in clean energy,” Felton said.

Felton believes using more solar energy is a good use of resources that could potentially create a better future.

“It makes us good stewards of taxpayer money here at the city, but also it is mitigating those effects of climate change by cutting down on fossil fuels,” Felton said.

Adding that the city can lead by example to educate the public on the pros of renewable energy.

“Our goal is really centered on being a leader in the city, allowing private people to make easy decisions, to transition, to clean energy and to be a partner and helping our private community figure out a way to to to do this as well,” Felton said.

The city council is expected to vote on the capital investment plan in the fall.

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