These days, citizens across the U.S are encouraging their local governments to seek ways to become 100% renewable energy cities. But can a city run on 100% renewable energy? Regardless of your hometown’s geographical location or the state of its economy, how we generate energy is a concern for us all. Harmful pollutants in the air are a concern for public health, and an overworked power grid has citizens stressed out. People are simply looking for ways to take back their power.
In addition to the compelling new Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that the government has put on the table, city officials are motivated to run on renewables for a number of reasons, including financial and environmental benefits. Studies have found that about 25% of the world’s population that lives in a city has a renewable energy policy in place. That’s about a billion people already living in a world where renewable energy is in full swing.
Can A City Run on 100% Renewable Energy?
This leads to the question: can a city run on 100% renewable energy? Well, there’s already cities currently running on 70% renewable energy right now and the number is growing. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reports substantial renewable power capacity growth in countries all over the world. Every day, people are becoming more and more privy to the benefits of having a power infrastructure completely dependable on renewable energy. Fossil fuels are on their way out the door! Let’s take a look at places on their way to becoming the top ten 100% renewable energy cities!
10 Cities Committed to 100% Renewable Energy
In the U.S. places that desire to become 100% renewable energy cities have a steady climb ahead of them, but it’s possible when everyone works together to make a change. We’re one the biggest energy consumers in the world with a heavy reliance on fossil fuels to generate our energy. However, there are so many U.S. cities committed to 100% renewable energy. Here are a few that have made commitments to be a 100 renewable energy city:
1. Abita Springs, LA
In 2017, Mayor Greg Lemons brought the city of Abita Springs into the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 initiative. He predicted that the town could save about $20,000 annually and installed solar-powered LED streetlights throughout his city. As of now, Abita Springs is the first Louisiana city to set a goal of running on 100% renewable energy by 2030. In 2020, Governor of Louisiana John Bel Edwards established the Climate Initiatives Task Force to be at net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
2. Santa Barbara, CA
Known for having some of the most beautiful beaches, Santa Barbara is close to being known for its environmental impact. The city made the commitment to being one of the 100 percent renewable energy cities by 2045. In 2020, Santa Barbara is running on renewables at 50% and has about 90,000 jobs in clean energy. It’s understandable why there’s a push for clean energy. Power outages and rolling blackouts have become more prevalent in “The Sunshine State” due to an overwhelmed power infrastructure, a high demand for power, and unpredictable, harsh weather conditions. While many residents might have questions about using renewable energy as a primary power source, it’s become clear that the way we generate energy needs a total overhaul. For instance, California has some of the sunniest cities in the U.S., so it makes sense that solar energy is one of the ways this whole state hopes to hit the goal of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045.
3. San Diego, CA
As ranking #6 of the top 10 cities that use the most energy from renewable sources, San Diego didn’t come to play games! There are over 56,000 clean energy jobs making a difference in homes across the city and the passing of the Community Choice Energy program in San Diego is one of the motivators. Among its many renewable energy goals, San Diego hopes to increase the number of zero emissions to 50% and significantly decrease the amount of greenhouse gas emissions.
4. Madison, WI
The capital of Wisconsin has committed to making some huge strides in its energy profile. With a population of about 250,000 residents, Madison has several renewable energy projects underway. These projects are geared towards improving the environmental atmosphere of the city, including enhancing the air quality and quality of life for the general public, instituting better practices for water conservation and management, among many other initiatives. These efforts will help the city reach its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2035.
5. Austin, TX
The great city of Austin is committed to revitalizing the efficiency and affordability of renewable energy sources to do leaps and bounds for the environment. With over 21,000 clean energy jobs in the city, Austin proves that pursuing renewable energy provides a boost to the economy. Moreover, Austin is encouraging its residents to seek out better ways to generate energy, like solar panels, and providing a host of Austin incentives to help light the path.
6. Chicago, IL
With over 96,000 jobs in clean energy, the renewable energy business is booming in the city of Chicago. Illinois has passed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (also known as CEJA), which aims to run completely on renewables by the year 2050. For a closer look at the plan and how its changes might affect you, take a look at this rundown. With goals to reduce pollution and substantially grow economic opportunities in the city, the legislature is finally providing the necessary funding to give clean energy the foothold it needs to take over the power infrastructure.
7. Atlanta, GA
In 2019, the Clean Energy Atlanta policy was accepted unanimously by local legislatures and aims to achieve 100% clean energy by 2035. Outlined in this plan, the city hopes to consume less energy by investing in renewable energy credits and generating electricity through large-scale renewable energy sources. Since then, Atlanta has been ranked 43rd in the nation for solar panel installations and their success keeps growing. According to a recent report, there’s over 49,000 clean energy jobs in Atlanta. Like many of the other cities on this list, Atlanta has chosen to put its best foot forward for the betterment of its community.
8. Salt Lake City, UT
Salt Lake City was the first city in Utah to commit to generating electricity from 100% renewable energy by 2030. The Climate Positive plan has encouraged many large-scale developments that brought renewable energy to local municipal buildings, a university, and a few ski resorts. Additionally, they’ve successfully installed LED traffic lights and created more than 19,000 clean energy jobs. By making clean energy a priority, this U.S. city could successfully reduce their carbon footprint by 50% in the year 2030.
9. St. Petersburg, FL
The Sunshine State decided to use the sun, along with other renewable energy sources, to power their city back in 2016. St. Petersburg is one of the first Florida cities committed to 100% renewable energy. Through a unanimous decision to hit this goal by 2035, St. Petersburg keeps energy production clean through the implementations of an extensive climate action plan. The plan offers amazing incentives and even a solar financing loan program to streamline the process for solar expansion.
10. Hanover, NH
Like many of the other cities committed to 100% renewable energy, Hanover set its goal to 2030. Through the city’s detailed planning, they hope to include heating and transportation by 2050. They’ve already made hefty investments in the installation of solar panels, LED lighting, and low-energy heat pumps. But they haven’t stopped there, Hanover has several solar projects in the works, making their 100% renewable energy goal even more realistic.
A Commitment to Renewable Energy for You!
Come sit with the cool kids! Renewable energy is becoming more and more popular no matter what city you’re in. We’re taking the natural, renewable resources into account for how we can best generate energy. And solar is leading the pack! Interested in finding out how you can do your part to make the environment and your budget better? Contact a Solar Energy Specialist today!