The Sierra Club, a nonprofit environmental organisation based in the U.S. with more than 2 million members and supporters working towards a world reliant on clean energy, has published a list of U.S. cities that are on track for 100% clean energy including the three that are already there: Burlington, Vermont; Aspen, Colorado; and Greensburg, Kansas.
Defining clean energy
Firstly, there are many differing definitions of clean energy. In this report, clean energy specifically means: carbon- and pollution-free energy collected from renewable, sustainably harvested sources, such as wind, solar, hydro, tidal, and geothermal, as well as energy efficiency. This definition does not include natural gas, nuclear or any carbon-based energy source.
The report showcases 10 U.S. cities that have made the ambitious commitment to be powered solely by renewable energy. It states: "By embracing 100% clean energy, these 10 cities are creating more equitable, healthy, prosperous and vibrant communities. It’s no surprise that clean energy commitments are wildly popular with the public. According to a national survey conducted by the University of Texas at Austin in spring of 2016, 90% of American adults agree that the government should be focusing on developing renewable energy.
"And 100% clean energy is not a not pie-in-the-sky idea. Burlington, Vermont; Aspen, Colorado; Columbia, Maryland; and Greensburg, Kansas, have already achieved 100% clean energy and are powering their cities today with entirely renewable sources. A dozen additional cities have made commitments to reach 100% clean energy in the next 15-20 years, and many others are considering similar plans."
San Diego, California, the eighth-largest city in the country, is the largest city so far to commit to clean energy. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer commented: “San Diego is known around the world for our beautiful environment, so it's only fitting that we help set the standard for how to protect it. We’re moving in a big way toward renewable energy use because it fuels green jobs and will improve the quality of life for our residents. It's about handing down to our children a city that is cleaner than it was when we received it.”
“Cities, long the hotbed of innovation, the drivers of change and the incubators of solutions to the world’s biggest challenges, are ready for 100% clean energy,” said Jodie Van Horn, director of the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign. “Other city leaders should take note from these examples and take the pledge to power their cities by 100% clean energy.
“Not only are cities ready for clean energy - it’s ready for them. Clean energy keeps money in local government coffers, creates local jobs, saves people money, cuts pollution and saves lives. Other cities would be wise to mirror these commitments coast to coast.”
Read the full report below and find out more about the Sierra Club Ready for 100 campaign.