The Windy City will soon be the largest city in the US to power its public buildings with 100 percent renewable energy. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) announced that Chicago has committed to powering all 900 of its municipal buildings with solar and wind by 2025. The transition will start in 2018, as the city will begins using a combination of onsite solar and wind generation and utility-supplied renewables from Illinois’ renewable portfolio standard.
“As the Trump administration pulls back on building a clean energy economy, Chicago is doubling down,” Emanuel said. “By committing the energy used to power our public buildings to wind and solar energy, we are sending a clear signal that we remain committed to building a 21st century economy here in Chicago.”
Emanuel’s announcement builds on the city’s previous efforts to reduce its carbon emissions. Between 2010 and 2015 it reduced emissions by 7 percent. The city also eliminated the purchase of over 1 billion annual kilowatt-hours of coal-generated electricity from utilities in 2013. The city said that reduction in carbon emissions was equivalent to shuttering one coal-fired power plant for 8 consecutive months. Additionally, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has installed solar arrays on 12 of its buildings since 2009 and the City of Chicago Colleges (CCC) and the Park District currently obtain large portions of their electricity from renewable sources.
Altogether the city, CPS, CCC and the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) consume about 8 percent of the city’s electricity. That was equivalent to nearly 1.8 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2016. The amount of power that 300 wind turbines can generate annually, according to the city.
"Today's action is a historic step forward in establishing Chicago as a clean energy leader,” said Jack Darin, Illinois Sierra Club President. “By moving boldly to re-power its public buildings with renewable energy like wind and solar, Chicago is leading by example at a time when local leadership is more important than ever. While President Trump and his administration would reverse America's progress on climate change and clean energy, Mayor Emanuel is ensuring that Chicago will move forward, and that its residents will benefit from the good jobs and cleaner air that come from renewable energy projects. We look forward to working with the mayor, community leaders, and the people of Chicago to achieve this bold goal on the path to eventually powering all of Chicago with 100 percent clean energy."
San Diego and San Fransisco announced plans that will take the cities’ 100 percent renewable energy plans even further. San Diego beefed up its Climate Action Plan in 2015 and will require that all of the city’s electricity come from solar and wind generation by 2035. Meanwhile, San Fransisco has mandated that every new commercial and residential building have photovoltaic or solar hot water panels integrated into their designs.Tweet