Three U.S. Cities Operate Entirely on Renewable Energy; California Aims for 50%

Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Solar cells at Aspen's water treatment plant (photo: City of Aspen)

Last week, Aspen, Colorado, became the third city in the country to entirely wean itself off fossil-fuel sources for electricity.


Aspen now gets its power primarily from wind and hydroelectric, joining Burlington, Vermont, and Greensburg, Kansas, as the only other cities to achieve all-renewable energy portfolios, according to ThinkProgress.


“This means we are powered by the forces of nature, predominately water and wind with a touch of solar and landfill gas,” David Hornbacher, Aspen’s utilities and environmental initiatives director, told The Aspen Times.


The movement toward renewables could soon count the nation’s largest state as a big example for others to follow. California, under a bill approved by the legislature, would require utilities to produce 50% of the state’s electricity through solar, wind and geothermal by 2030.


The plan, contained in SB 350, is expected to be signed by Governor Jerry Brown, who laid out that goal in his inaugural address. The bill would also require a 50% increase in energy efficiency in buildings within 15 years.


The plan wasn’t approved without some pushback from big oil. The bill originally contained a provision that would have cut automotive fossil-fuel use in half by 2030, but it was stripped after lobbying efforts by oil companies.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

A Third American City Is Now Running Entirely On Renewable Energy (by Scott Keyes, ThinkProgress)

Third U.S. City Goes 100% Renewable (by Cole Mellino, EcoWatch)

Half of California’s Electricity Will Come from Renewable Energy in 15 Years (by Ryan Koronowski, ThinkProgress)

Renewable Energy Reaches Largest Share Since 1930s Use of Wood (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

International Report Predicts Renewable Energy Sources will Pass Natural Gas by 2016 (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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