Hello Solar put together an interactive map documenting all of the cities in the US that have committed to moving to 100% renewable energy*. The map includes the timing on which the cities have committed to complete the transition and the population of each for context. (Note: since the site and many cities write “100% renewable energy,” we are using that language, but many of these commitments are actually just about 100% renewable energy for electricity or electricity + heating.)
Perhaps more exciting than just having dots on a map is the fact that each of the 31 dots represents legislation across the US committing to producing 100% of its electricity/energy from renewable sources. While the landscape of renewables varies significantly, the bulk of the renewable supply here comes from hydropower, solar power, and wind power.
The size of the dot indicates the population of the city, while the shading of the dot indicates timing. Darker circles have locked in on dates closer to the present, while lighter dots have dates further into the future. It is impressive and worthwhile to note that 4 of these cities have already achieved this noteworthy milestone, including Aspen, Burlington, Greensburg, and Scituate.
The City of Burlington, Vermont, for example, has achieved this milestone by implementing an impressive variety of renewable power generation. 41% of the power generation for the city comes from a biomass plant that turns organic waste into power. This is complemented by several hydroelectric plants around the city that generate 25% of the power required by the city. Another 34% comes from a handful of solar and wind farms.
Solar is not a source that many think of as a valid option for generation in areas known more for forests, rain, and fog (like Vermont), but just as is happening in Germany and so many less than ideal locations, solar still pays out, just over longer periods of time.
If states were highlighted for their level of commitment, Vermont would be high on the list, having locked into a target of producing 90% of all the electricity consumed in the state with renewables by 2050. Hawaii and California are working towards a similar level of commitment with bills currently on the floor that would take both states to 100% renewable energy by 2045.
Targets are nice but they ultimately only represent something to shoot for. Without action at all levels — federal, state, and local — these targets will be difficult to achieve. Each and every step in the journey is one worth taking. Are you going to be leading the charge or just along for the ride?
The Future is Now!