The Rationale for the Community-Wide Approach

All of Appalachia, including our region’s predominately rural communities, are disproportionately impacted by the skyrocketing costs of energy. Compelling scientific studies give evidence that continued reliance on fossil fuel-based energy threatens our health, environment and economy. Federal and state policies are increasingly focused on energy independence and movement away from carbon-based energy toward renewable energy sources.


While citizens, businesses, and local governments are taking steps to identify and reduce their energy use and explore opportunities for renewable energy, the practice is not yet widespread. The cost of renewable energy remains uneconomical for most individual residents and businesses. There are few examples of community-based energy conservation and renewable energy projects that, due to scale, could economically and collectively advance toward energy independence. Energy independence will be achieved by focusing on energy conservation and efficiency and producing abundant and affordable alternative energy through advanced technologies.


Often, we seek solutions to individual challenges. The New Berlin project examined whether the coming together of a community will help to bring further opportunity and superior results over approaching this challenge as individuals. The project provided significant short term and long term benefits for the residents, businesses, schools and other members of the New Berlin community.