States, Cities, and Counties in the U.S. Commit to 100 Percent Clean Energy


The Green New Deal introduced into Congress is effectively dead, but that does not mean that ambitious plans to tackle climate change are dead in the U.S. States, cities, and counties have developed plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with renewable energy commitments for 100 percent clean energy.

A Green New Deal in New York State

Back in January, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the state’s Green New Deal, which mandates 100 percent clean energy by 2040. That target is the most ambitious in the country and is five years ahead of California’s clean energy mandate. It invests $1.5 billion in 20 large-scale renewable energy projects and up to $200 million in port infrastructure to increase the state’s offshore wind energy. It will also put the state on the path to economy-wide carbon neutrality. The Green New Deal increases the state’s clean energy standard mandate from 50 to 70 percent renewable energy by 2030

“While the federal government shamefully ignores the reality of climate change and fails to take meaningful action, we are launching the first-in-the-nation Green New Deal to seize the potential of the clean energy economy, set the nation’s most ambitious goal for carbon-free power, and ultimately eliminate our entire carbon footprint,” said Governor Cuomo.

The Environment is Protected in California

California committed to 100 percent clean energy by 2045 last fall. Back in 2006, the state passed the groundbreaking Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32). In 2013, the state’s 800 largest industrial facilities started tracking, reporting, and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. California also has a cap-and-trade program. In 2017, then-Governor Jerry Brown signed Buy Clean California (AB 262) into law, which ensures that a supplier’s green gas emissions performance is considered when procuring materials for infrastructure projects.

Illinois’s Future Energy Jobs Act

The Future Energy Jobs Act went into law on June 1, 2017 in Illinois. The legislation funnels more than $180 million annually into new wind and solar projects from utility companies. It also provides $189 million, plus $10 million annually from existing renewable energy funds, as incentives for solar development and fund training programs. Energy efficiency programs receive $5 million. The result of the law is that it will reduce 32 million tons of carbon emissions by 2030.

Cities Across the U.S. Commit to 100 Percent Clean Energy

Atlanta and Washington, D.C. are two of 100 cities across the U.S. that have committed to achieving 100 percent clean energy. Recently, the Washington, D.C. Council unanimously passed the Clean Energy D.C. Omnibus Act of 2018 which includes a 100 percent clean energy by 2032 commitment. That means that by 2032, all buildings, even the White House, will be powered by renewable energy. The bill also increases fees on energy from fossil fuel sources such as coal and gas; the revenue is used to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

The Atlanta City Council approved a resolution for the Mayor’s Office of Resilience to develop a plan for the city to achieve 100 percent clean energy. The plan the Office of Resilience developed calls for a 2035 timeline.

Counties Commit to Adopting 100 Percent Clean Energy

There are whole counties in the U.S. with 100 percent renewable energy commitments. One of those counties is Multnomah County, Oregon. In 2017, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to commit to using 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. Another county to commit to 100 percent renewable energy is Pueblo County, Colorado, which has a timeline of 2035.

Image credit: U.S. Embassy, Ireland

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
Gina-Marie Cheeseman
Gina-Marie Cheeseman, freelance writer/journalist/copyeditor Twitter: @gmcheeseman

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