Hull Wind

The small Town of Hull (population less than 11,000) is one of dozens of cities that have municipally owned utilities. The Town of Hull Municipal Light Plant, owned by the city, produces all of the city’s electricity. When residents became interested in pursuing renewable power, they led citizen meetings, and were able to meet with the managers of the electric plant to persuade them to put up a wind turbine. In 2001 Hull put up the East Coast’s first commercial-scale wind turbine. The town installed an additional turbine in 2006 and today, wind power produces 10 percent of the community’s energy needs. This effort was enabled by the democratic responsiveness of the ownership design, where a municipally owned enterprise is naturally open to hearing the needs of citizens of the town that owns the enterprise. Members of the community group Citizen Advocates for Renewable Energy Interest were able to petition the public utility to make this change. For their efforts, Hull won the U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Power Pioneer Award. For community development organizers who live in cities with municipal power plants, the experience of Hull offers an example of how this ownership design can make utilities more open to working cooperatively with citizen groups. 

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