Minneapolis Becomes 65th U.S. City to Adopt 100% Renewables Goal
Minneapolis City Council and Mayor Jacob Frey announced Friday the city's pledge to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity for municipal facilities and operations by 2022 and citywide by 2030.
Minneapolis is committing to using 100% renewable energy by 2030. From our pollution control ordinance to green bus… https://t.co/CDVMy8Yzoo— Jacob Frey (@Jacob Frey)1524850839.0
"Climate change is one of the gravest challenges we face, and renewable energy is one of the solutions," said Council Member Cam Gordon, co-author of the resolution. "This resolution builds on the work of our adopted Climate Action Plan, and will help us reach our aggressive goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050."
The City Coordinator's Office has now been directed to bring forward a blueprint by the first quarter of 2019 on how to reach this ambitious goal.
The blueprint will also include strategies "to ensure that all consumers, especially those who have been left out of the benefits of energy programs in the past, communities of color, low-income communities, renters, and communities that have borne the brunt of past environmental racism, receive equitable benefit from this transition."
Council Member Steve Fletcher, co-author of the resolution noted, "In addition to being the right thing to do for the planet, investing in renewable energy allows us to keep more energy generation revenue in the city and create jobs for Minneapolis people of color who have been historically excluded from the old energy economy."
Renewable energy is Minnesota's second largest source of electricity generation, besting nuclear power but trailing coal, the Star Tribune reported last month. The newspaper observed that cost of wind energy in the state now appears lower than electricity produced from both natural gas and coal, even without tax subsidies.
Minnesota also has abundant solar energy. In 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy recognized St. Paul and Minneapolis as "Solar America Cities."
In contrast to the U.S. government's current push for fossil fuels, many American cities and municipalities are playing a key role in the clean energy revolution by committing to 100 percent renewables. They include Atlanta; Boulder, Colorado; Orlando, Florida; Madison, Wisconsin; Portland, Oregon; Rochester, Minnesota; St. Louis; Saint Louis Park, Minnesota; San Francisco; San Diego and Salt Lake City.
In addition to the city's pledge, Mayor Frey also joined the Sierra Club's Mayors for 100% Clean Energy initiative, a growing coalition of nearly 200 mayors aiming to transition their communities to clean energy.
Mayor @jacob_frey signing the #Mayors4CleanEnergy pledge! He joins nearly 200 Mayors across the country who have pl… https://t.co/35erfSvzEp— SierraClubMN (@SierraClubMN)1524854088.0
A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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