100 U.S. Cities are Committed to 100 Percent Clean, Renewable Energy

One hundred cities across the country are committed to transitioning entirely to renewables

Stephanie Steinbrecher, stephanie.steinbrecher@sierraclub.org, 415-977-5736

OAKLAND, Calif. — Across the United States, 100 cities and towns have committed to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy.

On Dec. 5, Cincinnati, Ohio became the 100th city in the nation to establish this goal when its City Council approved a resolution committing to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. Cincinnati’s community-wide commitment builds upon its Green Cincinnati Plan from May, which commits the city to powering its municipal operations with 100 percent renewable energy and advances other aggressive climate measures aimed at creating an equitable energy system. Recently, Cincinnati was announced as a winner of the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge. Cincinnati is the second city in Ohio to commit to an equitable and just transition to 100 percent clean energy, after Cleveland.

In addition to the 100 cities, the states of California and Hawaii have adopted goals to be powered entirely by renewable sources of energy, like wind and solar. The full list of commitments can be found here.

About 48.7 million people, or 15.1 percent of the US population, live in places that are committed to transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy. These cities, counties, and states will collectively reduce carbon pollution by 120 million metric tons as they move away from fossil fuels and repower themselves entirely with renewable energy—the equivalent of taking 26 million cars off the road or retiring 30 average coal fired power plants.

In response, Mike Brune, Director of the Sierra Club, issued the following:

“Last month’s midterm elections showed that communities across the nation will not wait for Trump or Washington to take action. Now more than ever, it is up to the people to make progress happen on the local level. These first 100 cities committing to provide their residents with 100 percent clean energy are trailblazers that will lead our country beyond dirty fuels. Combine that with the wave of new governors committed to 100 percent clean energy in key states around the country, and a future powered on clean, renewable energy will come even faster—and it is a future we are ready for.”

Jodie Van Horn, Director of the Ready For 100 campaign, issued the following statement:

“Local communities are leading the transition to 100 percent clean energy. One hundred cities with this goal marks a major milestone for the Ready for 100 campaign, for the 100 percent clean energy movement, and for climate and justice advocates across the country. Being powered entirely by renewables will mean cleaner air, healthier communities, affordable electricity bills, and an energy system that works for everyone. The momentum is unstoppable—now, we need to make sure that implementation of these goals is equitable and benefits the communities most impacted by climate change.”

Mayor John Cranley of Cincinnati, Ohio issued the following:

“It has become clear that cities will lead the global effort to fight climate change, and Cincinnati is on the front lines. I am encouraged by the changes we are making, but we have a lot of work left to do.”

Rev. Leo Woodberry, Executive Director of New Alpha Community Development Corporation and Pastor of Kingdom Living Temple in Florence, South Carolina, issued the following:

“Earlier this year, the Justice First Tour moved across the South to highlight environmental, economic, and racial injustices affecting our communities. These issues manifest in many ways—from pollution to poverty to lack of access to the benefits of clean energy. We need to build strong local economies, communities that are safe from the threats of climate change, and a more democratic energy system. Now is the time for us to work together so 100 percent of the people have access to 100 percent renewable energy.”

Mayor Jackie Biskupski of Salt Lake City, Utah, Co-Chair of Mayors for 100 Percent Clean Energy, issued the following: 

“Cities are a remarkable force in driving the momentum toward 100 percent renewable energy across the nation. At the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in June 2017, the Mayors for 100 Percent Clean Energy co-chairs and I introduced a resolution establishing cities’ support for 100 percent clean energy that passed overwhelmingly. At the time, 36 cities had officially adopted this goal. Today, that number has grown to 100. Since last year, we’ve seen hurricanes, wildfires, and flooding ravage our communities—the need for local action to support our cities has never been greater. On behalf of mayors across the country, I am proud that we are leading our communities to a renewable future in the face of federal inaction, and we’re doing so with the support of our local businesses, community members, and national partners like the Ready for 100 campaign.”

Joey Bergstein, CEO of Seventh Generation, issued the following:

“A commitment to 100 percent renewable energy is a commitment to clean, healthy, thriving communities. Creating a world that future generations can enjoy is our responsibility—and powering our cities with wind and solar will ensure that families enjoy clean air and water for the long haul. This 100 city milestone is a testament to the power of local municipalities and grassroots organizing like the Ready for 100 campaign to shape the future. We all stand to gain when our communities run on 100 percent renewable energy."

Cincinnati is the fifth U.S. city served by Duke Energy to set a 100 percent clean energy goal; on Dec. 6, Dunedin, Florida, also served by Duke, will also consider making this commitment.

Cities’ commitments are already shifting local energy systems toward clean energy. This year, utilities like Xcel Energy and Platte River Power Authority have responded to the growing number of 100 percent renewable commitments established by cities in their service areas by issuing ambitious goals to achieve carbon-free resource portfolios by 2050 and 2030 respectively. They are now working in tandem with customers to deliver 100 percent renewable electricity.

Cities are also working to ensure a clean energy transition is equitable and just, lifting up all communities while moving away from fossil fuels:

  • Voters in Portland, Oregon just passed the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Initiative, a measure that will require large businesses to help fund clean energy projects that will benefit frontline communities and ensure the city puts local residents first as it meets its 100 percent goal.

  • In Southern California, San Diego and cities in L.A. and Ventura Counties are pursuing Community Choice Aggregation as a pathway to reach climate and clean energy goals, allowing communities to have greater control over where their energy comes from.

  • Atlanta is prioritizing energy efficiency and local solar generation as it charts its path to 100 percent renewable energy, which the city created with the intent to establish a local clean energy economy and reduce electricity burdens for all residents. Many of the 100 committed cities are currently mapping their own paths to 100 percent clean energy.

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.