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.
"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.
The move comes after regional authorities declared a state of emergency over the weekend after sightings of more than 50 bears in the town of Belushya Guba since December.
This year's letter from Bill and Melinda Gates focused on nine things that surprised them. For the Microsoft-cofounder, one thing he was surprised to learn was the massive amount of new buildings the planet should expect in the coming decades due to urban population growth.
"The number of buildings in the world is going to double by 2060. It's like we're going to build a new New York City every month for the next 40 years," he said.
By Shana Udvardy
After a dearth of action on climate change and a record year of extreme events in 2017, the inclusion of climate change policies within the annual legislation Congress considers to outline its defense spending priorities (the National Defense Authorization Act) for fiscal year 2018 was welcome progress. House and Senate leaders pushed to include language that mandated that the Department of Defense (DoD) incorporate climate change in their facility planning (see more on what this section of the bill does here and here) as well as issue a report on the impacts of climate change on military installations. Unfortunately, what DoD produced fell far short of what was mandated.
Trump is losing his rallying cry to save coal. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) voted on Thursday to retire two coal-fired power plants in the next few years despite a plea from the president to keep one of the plants open.
Earlier this week, the president posted an oddly specific tweet that urged the government-owned utility to save the 49-year-old Paradise 3 plant in Kentucky. It so happens that the facility burns coal supplied by Murray Energy Corporation, whose CEO is Robert Murray, is a major Trump donor.