DEC 22, 2016 7:34 AM PST

Las Vegas Goes Green

From government buildings to streetlights, the city of Las Vegas officially achieved announced last week that all city facilities are running on renewable energy. The announcement occurred when Boulder Solar 1 — a solar power plant on the edge of Boulder City, Nevada — went live. According to the Huffington Post, the plant's acres of solar panels, along with other local sources of green energy like geothermal energy plants and solar panels placed throughout the city, will provide 100% of the city's municipal power, excluding commercial and residential buildings.

View of the Las Vegas lights. Photo: littleny/Shutterstock

Business Insider explains that the achievement marks the completion of the city’s goal to fully transition to clean energy only ? a project that  started in 2008 and was expedited after the city partnered with public utility company NV Energy almost a year ago. Since then, the city has saved some $5 million a year, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman is proud of the city’s accomplishment. "We can brag that the city, this city of Las Vegas, is one of the few cities in the entire world that can boast using all of its power from a green source," Goodman said Monday at a press conference.

However, while all government facilities are now only powered by renewable energy, many residential and commercial buildings are not. Known for its bright lights and glitz and glam, transitioning the commercial sector to renewables poses a much harder task.

Nevertheless, Las Vegas serves as a model for at least a dozen cities across the United States hoping to go green. An August report from the Sierra Club, a New York City-based grassroots environmental organization, presented case studies on 10 cities that have made "ambitious commitments to be powered by 100% renewable energy." East Hampton, New York; Georgetown, Texas; San Francisco and San Jose, California; as well as Grand Rapids, Michigan are just a few of the big cities committing to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2035.

Following The Huffington Post, 48 mayors signed an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump last month, pledging to take climate action within their cities even if the federal government refuses to support their plans. The letter reads:

Each of our cities is committing to ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, set climate action, regularly report on our progress, share lessons and hold each other accountable. ...As President, you will have the power to expand and accelerate these local initiatives which the people resoundingly supported. ...We ask that you lead us in expanding the renewable energy sources we need to achieve energy security, address climate change and spark a new manufacturing, energy and construction boom in America.

Meanwhile, Burlington, Vermont; Aspen, Colorado; Columbia, Maryland; and Greensburg, Kansas, like Las Vegas, are already powering their cities solely on renewable resources.

Sources: The Huffington Post, Business Insider


About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
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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