Aspen, Colorado, USA

Aspen, Colorado, USA

  • Target: 100% renewable energy
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Hydropower, windpower, and land-fill gas energy.
  • Implementation: The City of Aspen is located in the Rocky Mountains in the state of Colorado. As one of the most famous skiing resorts in the USA, Aspen welcomes many tourists every year. In particular, the city's winter population grows from approximately 7,000 to 50,000 people. This means that Aspen has to deal with a significantly higher energy consumption in winter compared to the rest of the year. In 1885, Aspen was already one of the first American municipalities to use hydroelectric power, and by 2014, hydroplants were covering 86% of the energy demand. The boost in hydropower has been largely due to the Canary Initiative, which was established in 2005, which identified Aspen and other mountain communities as “canaries in the coal mine” with respect to their sensitivity to the effects of climate change. The initiative laid out a Climate Action Plan, which would reduce GHG emissions by converting its energy supply to one based on RE. In cooperation with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory the city developed a strategy how to achieve this. Investments in renewable energy have enabled the utility to progressively replace fossil fuels. Finally, in August of 2015, the City of Aspen municipally owned electric utility achieved 100% renewable energy, by signing of a contract with the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, a wholesale electric energy provider. Since then, the energy mix in the electricity sector is assembled by 46% hydro, 53% wind and 1% landfill gas energy. The new wind contract, which provides 95% of the new renewable energy, allows the city to only buy what it needs to keep it close to 100% renewable energies. The advantage of this arrangement is that it affords crucial supply management flexibility for dealing with inconsistencies in energy production from Aspen’s other resources, such as the fluctuations in hydro power. It also allows the city to avoid being forced to buy energy they do not need.
  • Population: 6,871 (2016)
  • Area: 3.88 sq mi (10.05 km2)
  • Link: https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy15osti/62490.pdf
Aspen, Colorado, USA

Beaverton, Oregon, USA

Beaverton, Oregon, USA

  • Target: Achieve 100% renewable energy target including all public buildings, streetlights, and the water supply. 80 percent carbon emissions reduction below current levels by 2050, with a near-term emphasis on 40 percent reduction by 2030.
  • Status: Achieved - Since 2014, 100% of electricity fed into the city's grid comes from wind power sources. It is the only city in the state of Oregon that procures all of its power, for civic operations, from Portland General Electric’s (PGE) renewable energy program.
  • RES: Windpower and solar.
  • Implementation: In the first instance, Beaverton created an Energy Map for the base year of 2012, and researched existing and proposed state laws. To achieve the energy target, the electricity that Beaverton uses is not sourced from renewable energies produced in the town, but through investments in renewable electricity, which offset the consumed power in the city. Beaverton teamed up with PGE to purchase renewable energy offsets equivalent to all of the electricity demands for the city. The renewable energy purchased powers the city’s street lights, traffic signals and water pumping. PGE acts as a public consultant and encourages the community to switch to 100% renewable energy via different green products and packages which they can can select according to their needs. Competitions and projects enhance the level of participation of community members, such as the Beaverton Better Buildings Challenge (Beaverton BBC) which aims to improve energy efficiency in local buildings 20% by 2020. The city provides participants of the program free energy consultation, assistance prioritizing efficiency projects and support with utility data tracking tools.
  • Population:89,803
  • Area: 48.51 km²
  • Link: https://www.beavertonoregon.gov/1322/Solar-Beaverton
Beaverton, Oregon, USA

Boulder, Colorado, USA

Boulder, Colorado, USA

  • Target: 100% renewable electricity community wide by 2030, interim goal of 40% renewable electricity/50 MW local installations by 2020
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Solar energy
  • Implementation: Boulder is a small city located in the state of Colorado Rocky Mountains. In December 2016, the City Council voted to commit the City to 80% reduction in community greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2050, 100% renewable electricity by 2030, and 80% reduction in organization greenhouse gas emissions below 2008 levels by 2030. At the time of the plan's adoption, 99% of Boulder's energy for electricity, heating, and transportation came from burning fossil fuels. Roughly half of the City's GHG emissions were coming from electricity. Approximately 22% of electricity was being generated by renewables, with approximately 30 MW of local renewable power generation installed. More than half of this was local solar installations.

    By 2030, an all renewable electricity system aims to include 100 MW of local renewables, which will increase to 175 MW by 2050. This increase signals the City's strategy in moving towards 80% electrification. Electric vehicles and heat pumps for example will replace equipment formerly supplied by natural gas, and will demand greater electricity supply.

    To transition to all renewable electricity, Boulder's plan relies on a three part strategy. First is to reduce energy consumption. City-funded pilot projects aim to integrate efficiency with on-site generation and natural gas and petroleum replacement strategies. The City plans to expand demand side management services through the implementation of a municipal utility in lieu of the historic investor owned utility. To lower costs of owning on-site solar, the City plans to establish collective purchase agreements that allow groups to own solar projects. This can help reduce the overall demand for the municipal utility to supply electricity and scale up renewable energy procurement or installation. Second is to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy. The City plan to analyse renewable generation and storage opportunities to replace fossil generation, as well as strategies for replacing natural gas and petroleum-based transportation. Third is to re-design critical community infrastructure and operations through mapping and strengthening resiliency and protection against power failure.
  • Population: 108,090 (2016)
  • Area: 25.85 sq mi (66.95 km2)
  • Link: https://bouldercolorado.gov/energy-future
Boulder, Colorado, USA

Burlington, Vermont, USA

Burlington, Vermont, USA

  • Target: Meet 90% of energy needs including electricity, heating and transport with renewable energy sources by 2050 (State of Vermont target).
  • Status: Achieved - By September 2014, 100% of the city's electricity demand was supplied by renewable energy sources. First city in the United States to source 100% of electricity from renewable energy.
  • RES: Biomass, wind power, small hydroelectric plants, solar, landfill methane and large hydro.
  • Implementation: In 2014, the city purchased the Winooski One Hydroelectric Facility, a 7.4 megawatt hydro plant. Burlington Electric Department (BED) purchases renewable electricity credits to satisfy 100% yearly target. Joseph C. McNeil Generating Station fed with biomass covers up to 60% of the energy consumption. Wind farms covers around 17% of the electricity consumption.
  • Population: 42,239
  • Area: 40.1 km²
  • Link: https://www.burlingtonelectric.com/2017-2018-strategic-direction
Burlington, Vermont, USA

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Chicago, Illinois, USA

  • Target: 100% renewable electricity by 2035
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Solar energy
  • Implementation: Chicago is the largest city in the United States to commit to 100% renewable energy. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, it is an international hub for finance, commerce, industry, technology, telecommunications, and transportation. Historically, Chicago has made noted contributions to urban planning and zoning standards, including new construction styles,  the development of the City Beautiful Movement, and the steel-framed skyscraper. Today, it continues its high standard of innovation by setting 100% RE as the basis for future urban development (even despite the 11 nuclear reactors already in operation in the state of Illinois). The 100% target is part of the  Resilient Chicago plan launched in 2018, which commits the city to transition "to 100% clean, renewable energy in buildings community-wide by 2035”. The plan is bolstered by the Sierra Club’s “Ready for 100” campaign, an environmental action group advocating 100% renewable energy worldwide.

    The city of Chicago has also set more specific sectoral targets. By 2025, all city government electricity purchases, first established in 2017, must come from 100% renewable sources. By 2040, the entire bus fleet will be electrified. The city is also making a push for community solar by supporting the Illinois Power Agency’s community incentive programs and by incentivizing community solar through voluntary programs, such as the Chicago Renewable Energy Challenge. Since the passage of the Future Energy Jobs Act, Chicago has seen a boom in community solar, with 1.8 GW of projects applying for block grants in just two weeks.
  • Population: 2,695,598 city, 9,533,040 metro (2010)
  • Area: 234.14 sq mi (606 km2) city, 10,874 sq mi (28,160 km2) metro
  • Link: http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/progs/env/chicago-renewable-energy-challenge-program.html
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Del Mar, California, USA

Del Mar, California, USA

  • Target: 100% renewable electricity by 2035
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Solar energy
  • Implementation: Del Mar is a small coastal city in San Diego County, California. In June 2016, its City Council committed by vote to transition the community to 100% renewable electricity by 2035 as part of a municipal climate action plan. The plan includes an interim target of 50% renewable electricity by 2020. Del Mar's 100% renewable electricity goal is in line with the energy goals of neighbouring City of San Diego, as well as the state goal of 80% greenhouse gas emissions reductions below 1990 levels by 2050. This goal also aims to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions to at least 50 percent below the city's baseline 2012 values by 2035.

    To achieve 100% renewable electricity, the city is exploring the adoption of a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program with either local cities or San Diego County. CCA is a state law in California and several other US states that allow local governments in Investor Owned Utility (IOU) territories to aggregate their community's bulk buying power to procure electricity at best rates on the wholesale market or through direct contracts with power producers, and in turn sell it back to constituents. The IOUs continue to manage and charge fees for grid services. This method has been shown to help local communities procure higher shares of renewable electricity and offer it to their residents and commercial customers at a lower rate than their local IOU.

    The City of Del Mar aims to achieve 91% of their renewable electricity supply with a combination of utility scale procurement and distributed solar PV, and the rest using Renewable Energy Credits. Other strategies include encouraging the local IOU (SDG&E ) to achieve 100 percent renewable energy procurement by 2035, installing solar PV on new City Hall and other City facilities, with battery storage systems; introducing EV charging stations and replacing the municipal fleet with e-vehicles.
  • Population: 4,365 (2016)
  • Area: 1.78 sq mi (4.60 km2)
  • Link: https://www.delmar.ca.us/680/Go-Green-Del-Mar
Del Mar, California, USA

East Hampton, New York, USA

Maidstone Golf Club, East Hampton, New York, USA

  • Target: 100% renewable energy to meet electricity demand by 2020, and heating and transportation demand by 2030.
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Solar energy and wind power.
  • Implementation: The town of East Hampton, New York is located in Suffolk County on the eastern end of Long Island's south shore. In May 2014, its Town Board voted unanimously to set the 100% goal, making it the first municipal government on the East Coast of the United States to set such a bold target. The goal was motivated by the need to address rising summer peak demand for electricity and to reduce the need for controversial, unattractive new transmission lines that were beginning to go up in the region. By improving energy efficiency and developing local renewable energy, money and jobs in the local economy would also be better ensured.

    The decision was in line with both state and local policy. According to the New York State Executive Order, climate change is to be mitigated by cutting greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors by 80 percent by 2050. In October 2013, the East Hampton Comprehensive Energy Vision was adopted which set specific energy efficiency and renewable energy targets and timelines.

    East Hampton is using available incentives for local renewable electricity development. The local utilities Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) and PSEG Long Island (PSEG-LI) offers a 100 MW solar Feed-in-Tariff with a 7 cents per kwh if a minimum of 40 MW of solar proposals were received for the area. Additionally, LIPA/PSEG-LI had issued a 280 MW Request for Proposals (RFP's) for renewable generation.  The Town issued RFP's for solar proposals on town-owned land and received about 70 MW worth of proposals under both the feed-in tariff and the RFP. By May 2014, LIPA/PSEG-LI had already selected 32MW of solar proposals to be located in East Hampton.

    Wind farms by off-shore wind energy development group Deepwater One are estimated to supply Long Island with over several hundred MW of power. And if all of the projects selected by the town and the proposed offshore wind farm get constructed, the combined energy production from these facilities is estimated to be greater than the East Hampton's annual electricity consumption of 310,000 MWh. Included in this calculation is only 21% of the offshore wind farm's output as it would be shared by five East End towns.

    In May 2018, the renewable energy initiative 'Energize East Hampton' was launched to help connect residents and local businesses to programs that help them reduce their energy consumption, and as a result, lower their energy bills. The program also includes a Solarize campaign, which is supported by the State’s NY-Sun initiative with the aim of increasing the number of grid connected rooftop solar PV systems in East Hampton. Residents and businesses can install rooftop solar PV systems at a discounted price offered via the campaign.
  • Population: 22,009 (2016)
  • Area: 386.55 sq mi (1,001.15 km2)
  • Link: http://energizeeh.org
Maidstone Golf Club, East Hampton, New York, USA

FortZED, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

The Oval, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

  • Target: Net Zero Energy District
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Solar PV, biogas, storage technologies such as fuel cells, and smart meters.
  • Implementation: Fort Collins, Colorado is a municipality located approximately 57 miles north of the state's capitol city of Denver. In 2007, the UniverCity Connections Sustainable Energy Task Force, an initiative of the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, proposed the development of a "Net Zero Energy District". It would be a district within the municipality that would be a model for generating as much electricity as is consumed with renewable sources, combined with conservation, efficiency, and smart grid technologies. Named FortZED, the new district would cover an area of approximately 2 square miles and include the main campus of Colorado State University and downtown businesses and homes. Although completed in 2014, FortZED already showcased a demonstration project by 2011, a which showed that five businesses in the district could collectively reduce peak-load demand on a micro-grid by more than 20 percent during test periods over more than four weeks. The project combined a range of energy solutions, including efficiency, smart meters, demand response, solar PV, biogas, and storage technologies such as fuel cells. Natural gas was used as back up generation. The project also featured electric vehicle charging stations at city offices, and EV car batteries were considered for backup energy during peak-demand periods. This demonstration project was part of the U.S. Department of Energy's Renewable Distributed Systems Integration program.

    FortZED is led by a collaborative team of three entities: Fort Collins Utilities, UniverCity Connections, and the Colorado Clean Energy Cluster, a local economic development organization. Funding sources have included a U.S. Department of Energy grant for $6.3 million, plus nearly $5 million in matching funds and in kind services, along with a $778,000 New Energy Communities grant from Colorado’s Department of Local Affairs and the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office, and $2 million in local matching funds.

    Today, FortZED represents about 10 -15% of Fort Collins Utility’s electric distribution system and serves approximately 7,200 residential and commercial electric utility customers.
  • Population: 164,207 (2016)
  • Area: 57.05 sq mi (147.77 km2)
  • Link: https://www.fcgov.com/fortzed/
The Oval, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

Georgetown, Texas, USA

Georgetown, Texas, USA

  • Target: Powered by 100 % renewable energy.
  • Status: In progress - By January 2017, all electricity within the city’s service area was coming from wind and solar power.
  • RES: Solar and windpower.
  • Implementation: The city of Georgetown in Texas is aiming to be powered by 100 % renewable energy within two years, through long-term deals to supply the city with solar and wind power. The decision was made when it was found that renewable energy would be cheaper and more reliable than fossil fuels. The cost of solar panels had fallen by more than 63 % since 2010, with wind showing similar declines. The intervention would secure fixed electricity rates similar to the current rate of about 9.6 cents per kilowatt-hour and would protect the city against fluctuations in the price of fossil fuels. Renewables would require much less water use than traditional power generation, which is a great advantage in drier states such as Texas. Investing in the city’s own renewable energy sources would also create great local economic opportunities. Many companies, especially those in the high-tech sector, have invested in green sources of power for their office and manufacturing facilities. Georgetown’s 100% renewable power supply will help companies to achieve their sustainability goals at a competitive price. A major success has been the city's agreement with SunEdison, a multinational solar energy company, to purchase the power generated from a 150MW solar farm. The deal with SunEdison will be enough to power more than 24,000 homes every year for the next 25 years. Coupled with a 2014 agreement with EDF to purchase a 140-megawatts wind power plant, Georgetown will be able to meet all of its electricity needs without coal, oil, natural gas, or nuclear power.
  • Population: 55,716 (2014)
  • Area: 54.3 sq mi (141 km2)
  • Link: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/28/georgetown-texas-renewable-green-energy
Georgetown, Texas, USA

Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

Calder Plaza, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

  • Target: To become a fossil fuel free city, at least in the electricity sector, by 2020.
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Solar photovoltaic systems, and geothermal systems.
  • Implementation: Grand Rapids is one of the most populous cities in the US state of Michigan.  In 2010, the electricity production was mostly based on coal burning power plants and about 20% came from renewable energies. To achieve the 100%-RE target in the electricity sector, as announced by the mayor in 2005, Grand Rapids has implemented several RE projects. In 2010, the US Department of Energy awarded the city a ‘Congressially Directed Project Grand’. The city has since received financial support to implement photovoltaic systems. It has installed geothermal systems at two fire stations in the city. The US Environmental Protection Agency has also provided financial support to convert a former landfill site into a large scale solar photovoltaic farm.
  • Population: 198,829 (2017)
  • Area: 45.31 sq mi (117.35 km2)
  • Link: https://www.experiencegr.com/about-grand-rapids/green-grand-rapids/
Calder Plaza, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
  • Calder Plaza, Grand Rapids © Steven Depolo CC BY 2.0