When making change happen, it always helps to have a goal. When it comes to net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, our community could be making changes to conserve resources, produce and use more renewable clean energy and not contribute to global warming. But we have not set the goal yet. A goal has been set at the state level (Kudos to Governor Baker) to be carbon neutral by 2050. And other communities, such as the vineyard, have set goals to be greenhouse-gas-neutral by 2030 or 2040. But Nantucket has not.
If we created such a goal, here are some ideas (some fully fleshed out, some that need discussion and perfecting) to meet the goal. Each one of these ideas would benefit from a public discussion and exploration.
- Replace our current WAVE/NRTA fleet of diesel buses with electric buses.
- Convert SSA boats to hybrid diesel, electric or nuclear propulsion.
- Institute Mobility as a Service MAAS solutions for the island
- Revise regulations for e-bikes and other micromobility options like scooters.
- Better enforcement and increased awareness of the town’s dark skies bylaw to save money on energy and reduce waste
- Replace town vehicles over time with plug-in hybrid options.
- Revise HDC bylaws to exempt renewable energy projects.
- Upgrade the island’s infrastructure/switching station to make more renewable energy possible (We currently have a ceiling on how much renewable power can connect to the grid).
- Require developers to plan for future solar projects in the siting of their structures through the planning process. (South facing roofs or open space for solar arrays.)
- Require projects to use net-zero construction materials when they are available (zero GHG concrete, zero GHG steel, etc.)
- Encourage electric vehicle adoption with a surplus of charging stations island-wide.
- Require a renewable energy component for any new construction that uses >15% of the median energy use by structure type or has a heated pool, spa or other energy-intense architectural feature. Phase-in for all new construction over time.
- Beef up tax credits for homeowners who wish to convert to solar.
- Replace some box truck deliveries with multiple cargo electric trike trips.
- Equip all town and school properties with solar collectors.
- Encourage more bike use through a public awareness campaign
- Convert the economy: Provide homeownership incentives and tax credits to businesses with low-impact or remote jobs (Jobs that do not require trucks, roadway use, or add to the housing crisis) such as computer-based work, consulting, the arts, and more.
If you have any other thoughts on ways to meet a net-zero GHG goal, we would love to hear them.