Not long ago, a group of Hull citizens created an organization whose goal was to achieve 100 percent clean energy for the town by 2030. This effort was generated by climate activist Judeth Van Hamm, who managed to rally every town committee to support that action, which ultimately was passed at town meeting.
With the rather lengthy title “Town of Hull 100% Renewable Climate Action Committee,” this organization is now headed by Jacob Vaillancourt, an entrepreneur whose enterprises include a company that turns waste into a usable product. Relatively new to Hull, Vaillancourt has frequently opened his home to visitors who are interested in the kinds of changes he has made to reach a goal that would be at least close to 100 percent clean energy.
With the growing awareness among Hull residents that clean, sustainable energy can lower their energy bills substantially, many folks are cozying up to the idea of getting rid of planet-warming fossil fuels and replacing them with energy provided by the natural elements that surround us – sun, wind, and water.
At the far end of a peninsula and surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Hull is the most vulnerable of all the towns on the South Shore. That distinction has resulted in its being the most climate active among them. For instance, over the years, Hull has installed two land-based wind turbines, which provide about 11 percent of the town’s energy, and currently plans are underway to purchase a water-based turbine – so large that it could possibly provide enough power to cover all the town’s needs.
Because circumstances have forced this small town of 10,000 to work hard and fast to stop global warming, neighboring communities have taken notice due to the leadership provided by the Climate Action Committee.
Members of that committee have undertaken various tasks. They include Rick Mattila, whose background includes his role as environmental affairs director for the climate-friendly Genzyme building in Cambridge. Recently, Mattila completed a baseline on fossil fuel energy use in Hull. For this project, he says, it was necessary to depend on a variety of sources, such as the utility National Grid, the census FactFinder, and the Greenhouse Gas Emissions report done in 2002 by Hingham architect Jim Shipsky. Included in Matilla’s report is an updating of Shipsky’s findings.
The most recent facts available to Mattila were reported in 2019. In that year, 5,885,000 cubic feet of natural gas were used in Hull, and the average town resident drove 12,000 miles per year, at an average of 17 miles per gallon, which resulted in a total consumption of 4,536,000 gallons of gas over the same length of time.
Other committee members include Van Hamm, whose goals include reaching out to as many people as possible, with the idea in mind of creating a menu of clean-energy options from which folks can choose what will work best for their needs. Lucinda Wykle-Rosenberg, who has a long history working with schools, is planning different ways to inform students about climate warming.
Vaillancourt, along with all his other responsibilities, will continue to work on the Global Reporting Initiative, whose purpose is to make the ever-expanding information about this complicated subject as clear and transparent as possible.
What’s so important about the year 2030? The fact that within a decade global warming might be too high to be reversed.
Who wants to take that chance?