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What can housing learn from a utility company gone rogue? The utility industry is just as steeped in tradition, and just as averse to risk as housing, maybe there is a lesson where a small utility company decides to disrupt.

It’s not unusual anymore for U.S. cities to make aspirational commitments to 100 percent clean energy — even if the technology for such a shift (say, zero-emission equipment for ports) isn’t widely available yet. Increasingly, city leaders are willing to bet that renewables will scale rapidly enough to keep up with their stronger regulations. They’re also willing to pool their buying power to help those technologies along.

That’s why a small midwestern utility’s board meeting last week was so newsworthy.

Traverse City Light & Power serves a number of small communities in Michigan. Last Wednesday, its board voted to set a 100 percent renewable standard for 2040, the Record Eagle reports.

Those numbers don’t sound so impressive on their own — Minneapolis and Denver have committed to being complete renewable power by 2030.

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