MEEA Unplugged

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Urban Heat Islands and the Opportunity for Prevention

Chicago sunset

This summer, not even halfway through, has already seen some of the hottest temperatures on record. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently reported in its monthly climate update that this past June was the hottest June on record since global temperature record-keeping began in 1850. And unfortunately, the heat is here to stay.   Global temperatures have been steadily increasing since the Industrial Revolution and are projected to increase by about 1.5°C (2.7°F) by 2050 (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, n.d.). A phenomenon known as the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect puts cities especially at risk during times of extreme heat. UHI explains that dense, crowded urban areas can feel hotter than…

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Introducing the Vision of MEEA's New Board Chair, Brandon Renaud

board room

As of July 1, MEEA began a new fiscal year, and welcomed Brandon Renaud, Utility Services Manager for City of Columbia Utilities, as Board Chair. Brandon had previously served as Board Treasurer for the last 3 years and is a longtime member of MEEA. We’re thrilled to have his leadership for the 2024 fiscal year and look forward to working with him and the larger Board to continue MEEA’s current successes and lay the groundwork for the future. Read on for a conversation with Brandon Renaud to learn more about his and the Board’s priorities for MEEA’s FY24.     Q: This is a time of transition for MEEA. What is most important for you and the board right now?  Currently, the board is focused on two things: 1. Hiring the…

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Equity at the Forefront: Justice40 Initiative Updates

US Capitol

As the world continues to grapple with the urgent need to address climate change and build a more sustainable future, it is crucial to prioritize equity and inclusivity. Recognizing this, the Justice40 Initiative, by the Biden-Harris Administration, aims to allocate 40% of federal climate and clean infrastructure investments to disadvantaged communities (DACs). This commitment goes beyond financial benefits to include implementation assistance like community benefits plans (CBPs) and mapping tools.     The Department of Energy (DOE) now requires CBPs to be included in all major projects funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act. These plans aim to bring economic and environmental benefits…

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