Chicago commits itself to going 100 % renewable by 2035

It is encouraging to see the efforts being made by cities globally to move to a low-carbon energy transition.  Kristin Musulin writes on the Smart Cities Dive website about the commitment recently made by the city of Chicago.


Chicago becomes largest US city to commit to 100% clean energy

Dive Brief:

  • The Chicago City Council on Wednesday unanimously voted to commit to 100% renewable energy by 2035, making it the largest U.S. city thus far to do so.
  • The Mayor’s Office Sustainability Team will be responsible for developing a citywide transition plan for 100% clean energy by December 2020. The resolution also calls for complete electrification of the Chicago Transportation Authority (CTA)’s bus fleet by 2040.
  • This effort is championed by the Ready For 100 Chicago Collective, which includes leaders from various environment-facing organizations like Sierra Club and People for Community Recovery. “It is through bold, local action that we can enable meaningful participation and cultivate strong benefits for our local communities throughout this process,” said Kyra Woods, organizer of Ready For 100 Chicago Collective, in a statement.

Dive Insight:

More than 100 other cities across the U.S., including large metropolitan leaders like Atlanta, St. Louis and San Francisco, have already committed to the transition to 100% clean energy. The commitments fall in line with overall efforts from local governments to become more climate-focused — according to a 2018 survey from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, 60% of respondent cities have launched or expanded a climate policy in the previous 12 months, while 57% of respondents were planning climate action.

And while federal leadership on clean energy and climate action is lacking, cities have support from organizations like Bloomberg Philanthropies, which earlier this year announced the American Cities Climate Challenge Renewables Accelerator to offer cities technical support and guidance in achieving renewable energy goals. Organizations like The Solar Foundation and Environment America are also acting as critical supporters of such efforts, helping to offer data and research around the trend.

While this is an exciting advancement for Chicago, this isn’t the first time the city has focused on a shift to renewable energy. Mayor Rahm Emanuel adopted the Chicago Renewable Energy Challenge Program in 2017 to encourage businesses to develop and support renewable energy generation by 2035. CTA has also worked to expand its electric bus fleet over the last few years, most recently investing in new fleets of Proterra buses in an effort to “make Chicago one of the greenest cities in the world.”

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