March 11, 2019

Cities already into a Green New Deal

Governing -California and its cities are on the clean-energy forefront: Through its CleanPowerSF program, San Francisco is offering its residents and businesses the option to receive 100 percent of their electricity from renewable sources, and automatically moving to at least 40 percent renewables across the board. San Jose plans to automatically enroll most of its residents and businesses in a program providing electricity that is 45 percent renewable and 80 percent carbon-free, while offering an extra-cost option for 100 percent renewable energy. The economic benefits of the advanced energy economy in California have been tangible, with more than half a million jobs in the clean energy sector as of April 2017.

These efforts extend beyond progressive hubs. Cities and mayors that have committed to the 100 percent renewable goal include Atlanta, Evanston, Ill., Fayetteville, Ark., and St. Petersburg, Fla. Among places that have already achieved that goal through wind and solar energy are Georgetown, Texas, Greensburg, Kan., and Rock Port, Mo.

At the state level, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Vermont are among those that have committed to using at least 50 percent renewables by 2030. New Jersey's goals are on a par with California's: Through an executive order signed last year by Gov. Phil Murphy, the state will aim to reach 100 percent clean energy by 2050. The state is poised to bolster and revamp its solar-energy and offshore-wind credits systems, and the governor also signed into law a nuclear-subsidy bill that supports the continued use of that energy source.

Minnesota and its cities are also at the forefront, particularly on two crucial areas: transportation and urban planning. The state's Department of Transportation has set a goal of boosting the number of electric vehicles on its roads from the current 6,000 to 200,000 by 2030, and the Twin Cities are building on public transit with new and expanding light rail. Meanwhile, the impressive Minneapolis 2040 Plan promotes substantive rezoning across the city to create denser development. New and existing buildings will be retrofitted or redesigned, and the city will emphasize an array of transportation alternatives including incentives for electric-vehicle charging stations.

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