AUG 13, 2016 9:18 AM PDT

To be competitive, these cities are going 100% clean

A new report from the Sierra Club provides case studies of 10 US cities that are ready to go 100% clean energy. The following cities have made ambitious commitments to power themselves renewably: Aspen, CO, Burlington, VT, East Hampton, NY, Georgetown, TX, Grand Rapids, MI, Greensburg, KS, Rochester, MN, San Jose, CA, San Diego, CA, and San Francisco, CA.
 
The #ReadyFor100 campaign. Photo: The Sierra Club
 
The report introduces the idea for the report, saying that “Cities have long been the hotbed of innovation, the drivers of change, the incubators of solutions to the world’s biggest challenges. Clean energy is the latest example of how leadership at the local level is pushing the envelope at a critical juncture.”

To clarify, the terms for this project, the team from the Sierra Club states that they determine “clean energy” to specifically mean carbon- and pollution-free energy collected from renewable, sustainably harvested sources, such as wind, solar, hydro, tidal, and geothermal, as well as energy efficiency. The definition does not include natural gas, nuclear, or any carbon-based energy source.
 


 

Interesting to note for these cities’ commitments to clean energy are their reasons. “No two cities will do this for the same reasons or get there the same ways,” says Jodie Van Horn, director of the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign. “Cities are the canaries in the coal mine for the fossil fuel industry as they move to 100% clean energy, so will the country.”

Indeed, climate change is not necessarily the driver for these changes. Time Magazine explains how “In San Diego, one of the country’s most conservative big cities, a Republican mayor committed to transitioning to clean energy by citing how the commitment will help expand the city’s clean-tech sector. Leaders in Aspen, Colorado cited climate change’s effect on the local economy: global warming has detracted from the local ski industry.”

The reasons definitely abound and are unique to cities, however all cities can expect certain perks. The report cites the following pros for clean energy: keeps money in local government coffers, creates local jobs, saves people money, cuts pollution and saves lives. To read in more depth, visit the report yourself!
 
NYC solar panels. Photo: Neil Beckerman-Getty Images
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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