Atlanta Commits to 100% Renewable Energy By 2035
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Atlanta became the 27th city in the country to commit to transition to 100 percent clean and renewable energy. The Atlanta City Council unanimously approved a measure introduced by Councilman Kwanza Hall that establishes a community-wide goal of transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035.
The resolution also directs the Atlanta Office of Sustainability to develop a plan by January 2018 to meet the 100 percent renewable energy goal across all city operations by 2025 and community-wide by 2035. A copy of the measure can be found here.
Atlanta represents the first city in Georgia and the biggest southern city to commit to 100 percent clean, renewable energy.
In response, Ted Terry, Director of the Sierra Club’s Georgia Chapter, issued the following statement:
“Just days after hundreds of thousands marched for climate action across the globe, city leaders here in Atlanta are answering the call.
Cities like Atlanta must lead the way in confronting the threat of climate change and accelerating the transition to 100 percent clean energy. The commitment will inspire bold, ambitious leadership from cities throughout the United States and pave the way for a healthier and stronger Atlanta.
There is still more work to do to re-power all of Atlanta with renewable energy. This commitment represents just the starting point for the community. As we move away from fossil fuels to 100 percent clean energy, we must ensure that those most threatened by dirty fuels are first in line to see the benefits that come with this transition.
We look forward to working with our partners and city leaders to realize this vision of an Atlanta powered by 100 percent clean, renewable energy.”
Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall also issued the following:
“We know that moving to clean energy will create good jobs, clean up our air and water and lower our residents’ utility bills. We never thought we’d be away from landline phones or desktop computers, but today we carry our smartphones around and they’re more powerful than anything we used to have. We have to set an ambitious goal or we’re never going to get there.”
Atlanta and the State of Georgia have made strides in recent years by expanding renewable energy like solar.
According to the Department of Energy, solar makes up the largest share of Georgia energy generation jobs. 5,261 work in Georgia’s clean energy sector compared with 2,535 across all fossil fuels industries. According to Environment America, the City of Atlanta ranks 40th out of the 50 most populous U.S. cities in the total amount of solar installed.
Last summer, the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) approved Georgia Power Company’s latest long-term energy plan. The final plan—agreed to through a settlement agreement between the utility, commission staff, and several other parties, including the Sierra Club—represented the largest increase in renewable energy ever in Georgia.
The Sierra Club urged the Georgia Public Service Commission to require local utility Georgia Power to expand their proposed Renewable Energy Development Initiative. Initially, Georgia Power proposed to add just 525 new megawatts of wind and solar between by 2020. The final plan tripled that amount up to 1,600 megawatts of new renewable energy, mostly solar, by 2021.
Groups and community partners supporting Atlanta’s 100 percent clean energy resolution include the Sierra Club Georgia Chapter, Environment Georgia, Rev. Dr. Gerald L Durley, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Partnership for Southern Equity, Georgia Organics, Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda Clean, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Georgia Watch, Georgia NAACP, Hannah Solar, EV Club of the South, Solar Crowd Source, Georgia, Solar Energy Association, Spelman College, Mothers and Others for Clean Air, HBCU Green Fund, Georgia Chapter of the US Green Building Council.