The Oberlin Review

City Council members deliberate at a February 2018 meeting.

City Council Continues Environmental Emphasis

April 22, 2020

Following months of debate, Oberlin residents voted in 2017 to allocate $2.8 million to realize the goals outlined in the third iteration of the Oberlin Climate Action Plan, originally envisioned in 2011. Broadly, the plan’s current focus is to work toward carbon neutrality and to assist Oberlin residents who are interested in sustainable space heating and transportation opportunities. Efforts toward achieving these goals are currently underway. The most recent plan reaffirms the goal of the ...

In Council Race, Voters Should Consider Climate Policies

John D. Elder, OC ’53, Vice President, Communities for Safe and Sustainable Energy

November 1, 2019

 Of the dozen fine Oberlinians running for City Council, I urge you to vote for those who have been clear about their support for preserving the entire $2.8 million Renewable Energy Credits money for its intended purpose — the Sustainable Reserve Fund — where it can now be used to fulfill the goals of the City’s Climate Action Plan and provide significant long-term benefit to our low and moderate-income residents. I am very glad that all 12 candidates have positive views about the use of the REC dollars, as reported in the questionnaire responses on the Communities for Safe and Sustainable Energy Facebook page (@oberlinCSSE). However, I want to highlight the six who voted or said they would have voted to put all t...

The Oberlin Municipal Light and Power plant generates and distributes electricity to Oberlin’s residents. The plant is part of the redistribution process that happens when the city sells Renewable Energy Credits back into the electric grid and funds the Sustainable Reserve Program.

City Council Prepares to Release Next Greenhouse Gas Inventory

September 27, 2019

The City of Oberlin’s Office of Sustainability has completed a 2019 iteration of a greenhouse gas inventory, which will be released on the city’s web page in the coming weeks. The inventory is the latest of four, dating back to 2007, and was performed in order to prioritize how to spend the city’s Sustainable Reserve Fund. “[The greenhouse gas inventory] is what we’re going to look at as a guide when we start looking at what initiatives are really going to be the most important and in...

Student Engagement in Elections Must Be Well-Informed

Editorial Board

November 3, 2017

One of the first questions many Obies are asked upon arriving on campus for their first-year orientation is whether they would like to register to vote in Ohio. Several groups — student and community, partisan and nonpartisan — descend on Oberlin with voter registration forms and voter information packets. In some years, this is an easier question to answer than others. First-years arriving on campus in fall 2016, for example, were given the opportunity to register in a swing state for one of the most heated and divisive presidential campaigns in history. This year, however, is a different story. The local elections that will occur this Tuesday, Nov. 7 — which some students likely do not even know about — w...

REC Revenue Should Be Invested in Sustainability

Madeleine Page, Contributing Writer

November 3, 2017

Students should do all that they can to educate themselves before voting in the elections that are coming up this Tuesday, Nov. 7. I care deeply about Issues 16 and 17, which are focused on the City of Oberlin’s Renewable Energy Certificates. These certificates are the equivalent of money that the city has accumulated by using renewable energy, and Issues 16 and 17 will allow the voters of Oberlin to decide how the money will be spent. I am in agreement with many key city environmental figures to vote “YES” on 16 and “NO” on 17, and I support the investment of the money so that it can be used for important future sustainability projects. In short, the city earns RECs by generating electricity from renewable sour...

2017 Candidates and Issues: Local Issues

Carl McDaniel, Linda Slocum, and Tony Mealy

October 27, 2017

To the Editors: The letter from Steve Hammond and John Elder on Sept. 22, 2017 in The Oberlin Review, “Voters Can Correct City Council’s Mistakes,” provides solid reasons for voting “Yes” on City Issue 16 and “No” on City Issue 17. Critical to their recommendations are two letters from city law director, Jon Clark, who responded to questions from the City’s Public Utilities Commission. In response to a request for a legal review of a proposed recommendation to City Council from PUC on the disposition of net Renewable Energy Credits revenues, Clark’s letter from April 13, 2015 stated, “Based on the authority of the decision in Union Ice, I conclude that the City has no legal obligation to electr...

Petititions Circulate to Preserve REC Fund

John Elder, OC '53

March 10, 2017

To the Editors: In May 2007, the Oberlin City Council voted unanimously to establish a Sustainable Reserve Program funded by the revenue from selling renewable energy credits. This week, former Oberlin City Councilors, business owners and other respected Oberlinians are starting to circulate a pair of petitions that, together, will enable the voters to preserve funding for that program. I urge students, staff and faculty who vote in Oberlin to sign these two petitions. Why do this now? The Ohio legislature has been cutting income for the city’s general fund. The Trump administration is slashing the EPA budget. We can’t expect any federal or state support for local sustainability efforts, but thanks to 2007’s...

RECs Best Invested in Community Programs

John D. Elder, Oberlin Resident

February 24, 2017

To the Editors: The Oberlin City Council wants to establish a Community Choice Fund to receive donations from credits it would begin giving on electric bills in July. The credits would come from 85 percent of the proceeds of the sale of Renewable Energy Certificates, as voted 4–2 by council in a surprise move on June 20 of last year. However, to credit ratepayers and then hire a PR firm to try to convince them to donate the credits back makes no sense. And it’s not fair! The credits would be issued to rate payers on the basis of how much electricity they use. For the typical homeowner this would be about $9 a month. But for the large users it could be well over $100,000 a year. A homeowner can’t do much with...

Energy Credit Referendum Wrecked by Paperwork Havoc

Melissa Harris, Production Editor

September 2, 2016

Oberlin voters will not decide the distribution of $2.6 million in Renewable Energy Credits this fall because of a paperwork error in submitting a ballot initiative. The Lorain County Board of Elections rejected the proposed ballot initiative on Aug. 18 when Chairwoman of the Sustainable Reserve Committee Heather Adelman submitted the signatures to Oberlin officials but failed to include a copy of the text and title of the referendum. Renewable Energy Credits are certificates that prove a one megawatt-hour of electricity was produced with renewable energy. These certificates can be bought and sold on the open market. Since Oberlin draws most of its energy from renewable sources, the city has raised $2.6 million...

Get REC’d

Madeline Stocker, Editor-in-chief

April 1, 2016

After receiving $2.6 million in Renewable Energy Credits, Oberlin City Council must decide how to spend the extra cash. Renewable Energy Credits are generated when a community produces one megawatt-hour of electricity from a renewable energy source, such as geothermal heat pumps, bioproducts, hydrogen fuel cells and other eligible sources. The credits can then be traded or sold on the open market. Over 50 people were in attendance during the work session the City Council held Monday to discuss how the credits should be spent. According to Steve Dupee, Oberlin Municipal Light and Power System executive director, the money can either be used to temporarily lower energy rates or invest into long-term sustainable initiatives. Tensions...

Established 1874.