Pennington Council pledges to become carbon neutral in all operations by 2035

ANDREW HARRISON/STAFF

Pennington Council unanimously approved a resolution pledging that the borough will become carbon neutral in all operations by 2035.

The resolution was approved by the council during a meeting on March 1.

The borough’s environmental commission will help guide officials in the process.

“Just want to add that the environmental commission fully supports this initiative and is excited to lead this effort,” Council President Catherine Chandler said. “I think, without a doubt, this is the right move for Pennington Borough and I hope it leads the way for other boroughs to follow.”

According to the resolution, the environmental commission will be responsible for reporting to the council on an annual basis the amount of carbon released by the borough and the amount of carbon offset (reduction in emissions).

Additionally, the environmental commission will assist municipal officials in developing strategies to go away from carbon energy sources, as well as using the efforts to become carbon neutral as a means to educate and encourage Pennington’s residents and businesses to become carbon neutral.

One area of focus proposed by Mayor Joe Lawver in February to get Pennington to carbon neutrality was committing to buying and using only renewable electricity for the municipality.

Lawver has said previously that he does believe Pennington could commit to buying and using only renewable energy, but that officials would look at what is achievable and economically responsible for Pennington. He noted that the water system and sewer systems are examples of operations that require a lot of electricity.

Pennington does not have space and with current regulations it would be difficult for the municipality to provide energy for powering the water and sewage systems by establishing renewable sources such as solar rays or wind turbines.

Utilizing solar energy had been reviewed before by Pennington more than 10 years ago, but the cost at that time was not economically feasible. Once the renovations to Borough Hall are completed the municipality may look potentially at adding solar rays to the roof of the building.

Pennington officials already have solar rays on the building for public works, recently bought hybrid police vehicles, and the public works department is already experimenting with battery powered tools instead of gasoline, as Pennington gears up for a long process to being carbon neutral.