NEW BEDFORD — A summit on smart cities and energy technologies sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors Energy Policy Committee kicked off in New Bedford on Thursday.

The summit called for about 20 mayors from cities across the country to discuss and share case studies on the growth of smart cities, building a new energy economy, energy infrastructure, and more.

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell chairs the Mayors’ Energy Policy Committee and is the host mayor of the two day event. Prior to the summit on the top floor of the Whaling Museum, Mitchell brought the visiting mayors on a tour of the city’s Marine Commerce Terminal and an offshore wind turbine.

The elected officials at the summit were given the chance to feature presentations and case studies from their respective cities on business partnerships for a new energy economy, the growth of smart cities, energy infrastructure, and energy assurance.

Mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts Alex Morse was one out of a handful of Bay State mayors at the summit. He says actions taken at the federal level by the Trump Administration, such as pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord, has raised the importance of the discussion of clean energy.

"This topic is more important now than it has been in a really long time given what’s happening on the federal level. Mayors have the opportunity to be innovative and bold around energy goals,” Mayor Morse said. “In Holyoke in particular we are committed to a carbon-neutral economy."

The mayor of Piscataway, NJ Brian Wahler has similar views of the effect federal government can have on clean energy in municipalities. He says that mayors need to have their voices heard in these national policy discussions, which is what Thursday’s summit helps them do.

"Whatever national policies discussed when it comes to renewable energy, current energy needs, and initiatives they need to get the mayors' input because anything that's going to be put into play at the federal level is ultimately comes down to the city halls,” Wahler said.

The Over the course of the two day summit the mayors will also discuss a national infrastructure investment plan and how to address issues with press energy infrastructure. The Trump Administration and Congress are expected to consider the infrastructure package in early 2018.

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