NY Times – Sierra Club cuts Deal with Kansas City Power & Light

windowslivewriternytimessierraclubcutsdealwithkansascityp-e013logo20sc20vert1.jpgIn today’s New York Times, Matthew L. Wald reports that the Sierra Club has negotiated a deal with Kansas City Power and Light, a Midwest electric company, “to take steps to cut carbon dioxide output by the amount that a new plan will produce.” The plan includes buying hundreds of windmills and undertaking a major conservation program.

Following on my recent post BusinessWeek – Hugging the Tree-Huggers, this is another example of the previously unthought of convergence of social sector activists and corporate interests to try to solve some of the planet’s most significant challenges.

Kansas City Power plans on saving significant amounts of electricity by helping commercial landlords and homeowners replace lighting and appliances with more energy efficient models. In return,  the Sierra Club will withdraw their opposition to a major project and will stop claiming an existing plant violates the Clean Water Act.

The article goes on to state:

Kansas City Power and Light, based in Kansas City, Mo., plans to ask regulators and state legislatures to let it invest in higher-efficiency equipment and earn a rate of return on the money it spends, just as it would earn a rate of return on a new power plant. In some cases customers will see bigger bills; others would see their bills go down because of lower consumption, but they would have to help pay the cost of any new equipment. The utility would subsidize the cost of new equipment.

“We believe there’s a lot of low-hanging fruit there, energy efficiency that can be invested in that costs less than building a baseload plant,” said Mike Chesser, the chairman and chief executive of the utility. “The trick is to get the business model in place,” Mr. Chesser said.

He said that, as part of the agreement, the Sierra Club would help the company persuade regulators that costs and pollution would be lower if the money could be invested in conservation instead of in new construction. The effort might involve buying central air-conditioners in bulk, going into residential neighborhoods and replacing equipment house after house, he said.

It will be interesting to see this plan in action.

Wald also reports about a group of 65 large companies, including BP America, DuPont and others who on Monday called on Congress “to establish a carbon policy to limit climate-change risk and to clarify for businesses what requirements are likely to emerge.”

It seems like every day there is a new report of agreement between high profile groups and companies that previously engaged in antagonistic relations.  It’s an interesting evolution in social change to monitor.

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Peter A. Mello

Father, son. Lifelong mariner, student of leadership, photographer. Professional creative placemaker.

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