Orlando officials want all the electricity utilised by the entire city to originate from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.
In an uncontested vote, the Orlando City Council consented to adopt this objective, joining San Diego, Salt Lake City and 37 different urban communities around the USA that have embraced a 100% clean-energy goal. Orlando is the biggest city in Florida pledging to this target so far, as per the Sierra Club, with St. Petersburg and Sarasota right behind.
Apart from fighting environmental change and pollution, the city contends the move toward sustainable power source increments economic opportunities in Central Florida by creating local jobs in the industry. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer did not call out the climate change aversion of President Donald Trump or the Republican-led Florida Legislature by name, but said city chairmen needed to lead the battle against rising seas and intensifying temperatures.
Dyer said: “This administration has decided not to honour our commitment to the Paris climate accord, but a lot of mayors around the country have picked up the reins to say if we’re not doing it at the federal level, it’s incumbent that we lead at the local level.”
“More than 50% of the world’s population now lives in cities, so we have to be the ones that are leading on the important issues that are of consequence for not just this year, but for decades and even centuries to come,” Dyer added.
Chris Castro, director of sustainability for the city, says in the course of the last decade, Orlando has been endeavouring to move the needle through its Green Works Orlando drive to become one of the most sustainable urban communities in the Southeast. The city has effectively dedicated to reducing 90% of its air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 in accord with the Paris Climate Agreement. To accomplish this, Orlando has already defined an objective of powering 100% of municipal operations using renewable energy by 2030. A year ago, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Solar Foundation announced Orlando a “SolSmart City” for its initiative on expanding clean energy sources.
According to Castro, solar energy is cheaper to produce electricity than the power from fossil fuels, including coal and even natural gas.
“What we want to do is maintain the affordability of our electricity rates. A lot of people think that just by going solar, it’s going to be more expensive, and that is not the case. We’re actually going to be able to levelise our cost of power over decades, and we’ll be able to maintain the affordability and the reliability of our power here in the City of Orlando,” Castro explains.
The committee is likewise especially interested in the potential work opportunities created by having this commitment to clean energy. Castro says a year ago in Florida, solar jobs expanded 10 times faster than the general state economy, adding 1,700 new jobs. Commissioner Sam Ings proposed moving the citywide target of 100% renewable energy to 2035, and Castro said that goal could be updated as more innovation arrives.
The proposal was approved by members of the First 50 Coalition, a broad alliance pushing for local sustainability issues that involve the League of Women Voters of Orange County, the Sierra Club, and FL SUN.
Sara Isaac, director of partnerships for the League, says: “I see this vote as historic and a first step toward what we can do in leadership on the national stage.”
In a statement, Phil Compton from the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Campaign in Florida also applauded the decision by Orlando commissioners.
Compton says: “All across our state and our nation, cities are committing to a future powered by 100% clean and renewable energy for all. Today, Orlando joins this growing movement of cities that are ready for 100 percent clean, renewable energy,”