Greening the parish (at cheaper rates)

This article appears in the Small Earth Stories feature series. View the full series.

Inspired by Pope Francis' encyclical, "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home," members of the Paulist Center community in Boston formed a committee that hoped to take action to address the climate crisis. I offered to help them try to "green" the center's electricity supply.

As a former state energy official, I knew that consumers in Massachusetts could choose their electricity supplier. I introduced the committee to a regional "aggregator" that helps consumers buy power in large groups. Fortunately, the aggregator offered a multi-year contract to purchase power generated only by clean, renewable sources such as wind and solar technologies.

The center signed that contract and, by joining with other non-profits to buy "green" power collectively, the Paulist Center was able to obtain the power at a slightly lower rate than it was previously paying. For the committee, the community, and the environment, it was an unexpected and gratifying victory.

— Dave O'Connor, who served as Massachusetts Commissioner for Energy Resources from 1995 to 2007, has been a member of the Paulist Center for more than 40 years.

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Photo by Karsten Würth (@karsten.wuerth) on Unsplash
A version of this story appeared in the April 3-16, 2020 print issue under the headline: Greening the parish (at cheaper rates) .