With more good news for the clean energy revolution, Chicago and Portland are joining an ever growing list of cities and towns in the United States that have committed to changing over to renewable energy. The two cities join a list of over 25 cities, including East Hampton, New York; Georgetown, Texas and San Francisco in making commitments to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy. Meanwhile, Las Vegas, Nevada; Burlington, Vermont; Aspen, Colorado; Columbia, Maryland; and Greensburg, Kansas are already getting their power from 100 percent renewable sources reports Business Insider.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel chose the roof of the Shedd Aquarium to make his announcement on Sunday. The Shedd had recently installed 913 solar panels in an effort to cut its energy costs by 50 percent by 2020. He was joined by the heads of a number of city public organizations that collectively used nearly 1.8-kilowatt hours of electricity in 2016, about 8.0 percent of all electricity use in Chicago.
Emanuel announced the city would transition all city-owned buildings, including street lights to renewable energy by 2025, making use of a variety of green energy sources, including renewable energy credits, utility-supplied renewable energy, and on-site generation, with initial purchases set to begin in 2018 and 2019.
As the Trump administration pulls back on building a clean energy economy, Chicago is doubling down,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “By committing the energy used to power our public buildings to wind and solar energy, we are sending a clear signal that we remain committed to building a 21st-century economy here in Chicago.”
Sierra Club Illinois representative Jack Darin told Motherboard that the city will have to figure out how to power its municipal buildings, schools and other facilities, including its thousands of street lights. “This is going to take a little bit of time to figure out what the solution is for the different agencies and the different supply contracts,” Darin said.
Portland joins in committing to 100 percent renewables
Multnomah County, Oregon and its largest city, Portland, have made the commitment. Multnomah County is the most populous county in Oregon. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury also used an appropriate venue to make their announcement on Monday; the June Key Delta Community Center in North Portland—the site of a former gas station turned green building.
According to Oregon Live, the plans include meeting all electricity needs using renewables by 2035 and to move any remaining energy sources to renewables by 2050. “Getting our community to 100 percent renewable energy is a big goal,” Mayor Wheeler said in a statement. Wheeler added: “And while it is absolutely ambitious, it is a goal that we share with Nike, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Google, GM, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, and Walmart. We have a responsibility to lead this effort in Oregon.”
County Chair Kafoury welcomed the news. “This is a pledge to our children’s future,” she said. “100 percent renewables means a future with cleaner air, a stable climate and more jobs and economic opportunity.”
In a news conference, Kafoury said the whole region is facing a “reality check” after going through one of the wettest winters ever, along with the other effects of climate change. “It is an imperative,” she said of meeting the energy pledge. “We must get there and we can only get there together. This is a pledge to our children’s future.”
Wheeler reiterated, pointing to Portland’s climate-related industries that are already bringing in middle and high-income jobs to the region. “No matter which way the political winds are blowing in Washington D.C.,” Wheeler said,”I want you to know that Portland will continue to stay the course.”