Survey: Green energy is OK, but cost is not

NEW ULM – Energy Service Representative William Swanson presented the New Ulm Energy Awareness Commission survey results taken during the Home Show in March on renewable energy on Tuesday.

Forty-three people responded to the seven-question survey.

Results indicated most residents believe New Ulm should offer renewable energy options and would be willing to participate in the program. Respondents preferred wind energy followed by solar power. While most favored green energy options, three-fourths viewed higher rates for renewable energy as negative.

Commissioner Dr. Charles Stephens said the use of renewable energy is increasing due to new methods of storing electrical energy. In the past interest was low because of an inability to store electricity generated by wind or solar power. The push from companies to create energy-storing batteries could allow for new energy infrastructures in the future.

Commission members said the survey sampling was small, and discussed including a second survey with utility bills. No decision was made on another survey, but the issue will be discussed at the group’s fall meeting.

In other business, Swanson provided an update on the low income program. Swanson said the plan needed changes before recommending it to the Public Utilities Commission. He cited problems with the contract’s definition of low income as well as the wording regarding contract-term dates and equipment utilized.

Members agreed to fix contract language and offered to hold a special meeting to approve changes if the contract was completed before the next scheduled meeting, which is Sept. 9.

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