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.
This report showcases 10 U.S. cities that have made ambitious commitments to be powered by 100% renewable energy.
For a variety of reasons and in diverse circumstances, public officials and community leaders see the transition from dirty fossil fuels to clean energy not as an obligation but as an opportunity. Cities powered by 100% clean energy save taxpayer dollars, help their residents save money, create good jobs, and foster a better quality of life. They are catalysts for a new economy and clean energy future.
THESE CITIES SHOW US THAT
- Clean energy keeps money in local government coffers. Solar prices have dropped 80% in recent years and wind 60%. Georgetown, Texas, found that renewables made sound fiscal sense as it could lock in lower rates for solar power, and renewables use far less water than fossil fuels— critical in a state accustomed to drought.
- Clean energy creates local jobs. The solar industry already employs more than 200,000 people, and in 2015 job growth in the solar industry was 12 times greater than in the general economy. A just transition to a modernized, smart power grid can create millions of new, living-wage good careers. In San Diego, California, the Republican mayor was able to convince business leaders to sign on to a 100% renewables plan because of the promise of techsector and solar manufacturing jobs.
- Clean energy saves people money. Clean energy can bring economic benefits to every American family. Stanford scientists studied this issue and concluded that the transition to a clean energy economy would save the average American family over $200 a year in energy costs and $1,500 a year in healthcare costs.
- Clean energy cuts pollution and saves lives. Clean energy can address harms faced by front line communities that have suffered the worst consequences of fossilfuel pollution. Air and water pollution emitted by coal and natural gas plants is linked to asthma, neurological damage, heart attacks, and cancer. Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy reduces premature mortality.