Atlanta pledges 100% renewables by 2035

Dive Brief:

  • Atlanta City Council has unanimously approved a measure establishing a city-wide goal of transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2035, becoming the 27th city in the United States to do so, according to the Sierra Club.
  • The resolution directs the Atlanta Office of Sustainability to develop a plan by January 2018 to meet the goal across all city operations by 2025 and community-wide by 2035. A copy of the measure can be found here.
  • In 2016, the state regulators approved Georgia Power's long-term energy plan, which will add about 1,600 MW of new renewables, mostly solar, by 2021.

Dive Insight:

Atlanta has more than 450,000 residents, making it the biggest Southern city to pursue all green energy. San Diego, Salt Lake City and Chicago have adopted similar proposals, while a half dozen cities have already achieved 100% clean energy.

The city council resolution praised Georgia Power's progress on growing renewables, but added that "the overall percentage of these resources in the generation mix remains less than 2%." The city of Atlanta is under a franchise agreement with Georgia Power until 2064.

Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall introduced the measure, and he said in a statement "we know that moving to clean energy will create good jobs, clean up our air and water and lower our residents’ utility bills. ... We have to set an ambitious goal or we’re never going to get there.”

On the other hand, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported last month that Hall raised eyebrows at a mayoral forum when he appeared to question the science behind climate change.

“I got a question mark on the global warming thing,” he said. “I do believe in sustainability. I’m a science-minded person and I have a science background. But stuff is in the media too much … it’s hard for me to be convinced some times.”

Hall later issued a statement unequivocally siding with those who believe humans are causing the planet to warm, and he pledged 100% renewables in Atlanta with an original date of 2050. 

Six U.S. cities are already generating 100% of community-used power from renewable sources: Aspen, Colo., Burlington, Vt., Greensburg, Ka., Kodiak Island, Alaska., and Rockport, Missouri.

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Filed Under: Solar & Renewables