Houston the latest American city to pledge to go fully renewable

Houston pledges to get 100 percent of its energy from renewable solar power and, importantly, estimates the change will save more than $65 million over seven years. Michael Thomsen describes the latest developments in an article on the Daily Mail website.

 

Houston pledges to get its energy from 100 percent renewable sources

The mayor of Houston has announced a plan to move the city to 100 percent renewable energy sources starting in July, a change that’s expected to save the city $65million over the next seven years.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the plan as part of an updated partnership with NRG Energy, which will supply the city with 1,034,399 MWh of electricity each year from a ‘utility-scale’ solar facility in Texas.

The transition is part of a larger plan the city has laid out to become fully carbon neutral by 2050, detailed in a recently released Houston Climate Action Plan.

‘Expanding our renewable energy investment through our partnership with NRG helps us build a more sustainable city and save over $9 million per year on our electric bill,’ Turner said in a statement.

‘Together, we are leading by example and showing how to reduce emissions in the Energy Capital of the World.’

Other changes detailed in Houston’s Climate Action Plan include developing more public transportation options to lower car traffic and transitioning the city to electric vehicles.

Building codes will also be revised over time to encourage energy efficiency, while emphasis will be placed on planting more trees and bushes to protect flood zones and help sequester carbon from the air.

The changes come in part after the city government acknowledged Houston has the highest per capita emission of greenhouse gases in the country, with 14.9 metric tons of CO2 released annually for each of the city’s 2.325 million residents.

Researchers have linked greenhouse gas-fueled climate change as a factor that helped make 2017’s Hurricane Harvey especially damaging.

Harvey flooded parts of the city, killed 80 residents, left 800,000 homeless, and caused more than $200billion in property damage.

Hurricane Harvey first hit US shores on August 25 before hovering over Texas, causing torrential downpours and flooding.

With an estimated $200 billion (£150 billion) in damages, Harvey is the most costly weather disaster in US history, more than Hurricanes Sandy and Catrina combined.

Scientists have now found that climate change made Hurricane Harvey’s deadly rains and flooding three times more likely.

One study from Bristol University found Harvey brought at least 15 percent more rainfall than it might otherwise due to the effects of climate change

The event left many Houstonians interested in pursuing new policies that might begin to make a contribution to the city’s massive carbon footprint.

‘We are proud to support the City of Houston with renewable power,’ NRG Energy president Mauricio Gutierrez said of the new initiative.

‘Our sustainable and more resilient future depends on collaborative action and partnerships like this, and the city is making a meaningful impact.’

‘Houstonians can take pride in the city’s transition to more efficient sources of energy and we look forward to offering our support, now and into the future.’

The contract with NRG will commence on July 1, 2020, and last for five years, with the option of two additional one-year extensions.

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