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Woodstock wants to be Ontario’s first city run entirely on renewable energy

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Imagine in 35 years, a city running entirely on renewable energy. Street lights could be powered using solar panels, while hospitals and government buildings could utilize wind turbines. Imagine if every ambulance, police car, and fire truck was electric?

One Ontario town wants to make this futuristic, sustainable utopia a reality.

The town of Woodstock and Oxford County are currently considering a plan that would call for the municipality to run entirely on renewable energy by 2050.

Dr. Jose Etcheverry, a professor at York University and an expert in renewable energy, is spearheading the plan, which would see Woodstock use solar, wind, and other types of sustainable energy to power the town of nearly 38,000 people.

“It’s about keeping Oxford at the front edge of the energy revolution that’s happening around the world,” County Warden David Mayberry told the Woodstock Sentinel Review. “We’ve been recognized as a leader, so we might as well be at the forefront of moving towards a more renewable energy future.”

Oxford County already represents the new vanguard of sustainability city planning. For example, the county building is powered by rooftop solar panels, Woodstock boasts several electric vehicle charging stations, and 10 wind turbines are currently being built.

Vancouver is the only other city in Canada that’s made a commitment to run on 100 percent renewable energy. The city of 600,000 announced earlier this year that within 20 years, all electricity, transportation, heating, and air conditioning would be powered using green energy.

Etcheverry says that while there’s a moral imperative for greening the town, it’s also a smart choice economically.

“Renewable energy technologies are actually quite competitive, and non-renewable resources are bound to increase in price sooner or later because—by their nature—are not going to be replenished,” said Etcheverry to the CBC.

The current plan would see Woodstock go 100 percent green in 35-years—a timeline that Mayberry thinks is totally achievable.

“We’re talking 35 years, that’s a long time. A lot of the technology is actually available today, so it’s a matter of putting the pieces, one after another, in place,” Mayberry said.

“And we can do it.”