Orlando Becomes 40th City to Commit to 100% Renewable Energy
The City of Orlando wants all electricity consumed within the city to come from renewable sources by 2050. The city council unanimously passed a resolution stating this goal Tuesday.
The Orange County League of Women Voters was part of the push for renewable energy. The league’s Sara Isaac said this will cut air pollution, identify Orlando as a forward thinking city, and be an economic benefit.
“Solar energy and other renewables are now, because of changes in technology and incredible drops in price, not only doable, like it’s the right thing to do, but they’re actually more affordable and getting more affordable than fossil fuel extraction and will continue to do so,” said Isaac.
The city already has a goal of powering all municipal operations with clean, renewable energy sources by 2030. City staff say the cost to install solar has dropped by more than 70 percent since 2010. They also say Orange County is one of the top counties in the state for the number of solar workers.
The Orlando City Commission unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday establishing a goal to move Orlando to 100 percent clean and renewable energy by 2050. Orlando is now the largest city in Florida to make such a commitment and joins a growing movement of more than three dozen cities nationwide that have committed to a 100 percent clean energy future.
Council chambers were filled with elated members of the First 50 Coalition, a broad-based alliance led by the League of Women Voters of Orange County that is pushing for sustainability in Central Florida.
"Today, Orlando takes its place on the regional, state and national stage as a forward-thinking city committed to a healthier, sustainable future," said League of Women Voters of Orange County co-president Carol Davis. "This is a first, important step, and we plan to continue to support and encourage the City to follow with concrete measures that solidify this commitment."
Orlando represents the 40th city in the U.S. to commit to move to 100 percent clean and renewable energy. Mayor Buddy Dyer has already championed multiple green energy initiatives, including signing the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda in the past few months. In June, Mayor Dyer signed onto the Sierra Club's Mayors for 100% Clean Energy campaign and endorsed a vision of powering all of Orlando with 100 percent clean energy. Other Florida cities that have committed to transition to 100 percent clean and renewable energy include St. Petersburg and Sarasota.
The local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) branch, a key member of the First 50 Coalition, praised the City Commission's vote.
"We stand in support with the Orlando City Commission, in realizing the importance of renewable energy to it residents, by taking the necessary actions to begin the transformation," said Beverlye Colson Neal, president of the NAACP's local branch. "We look forward to working with the City to educate the residents of the importance and advantages of renewable energy as we move into the future."
Sara Isaac, League of Women Voters of Orange County's director of partnerships, agreed. "We applaud the City of Orlando for looking ahead to the future and seeing that a better tomorrow is possible if we take bold action today," Isaac said. "Orlando is a young city that is just now beginning to fully realize its possibilities. This action showcases Orlando as a potential powerhouse player on the national stage."
In a letter sent to commissioners urging their support, First 50 acknowledged that Orlando has already taken significant steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, praising in particular Green Works Orlando and Smart ORL, which boosted Orlando down a path of clean-energy and sustainability.
Orlando's vote was applauded by Phil Compton, senior organizing representative with the Sierra Club's Ready for 100 Campaign in Florida, and a member of the First 50 Coalition.
"All across our state and our nation, cities are committing to a future powered by 100 percent clean and renewable energy for all," Compton said. "Today, Orlando joins this growing movement of cities that are ready for 100 percent clean, renewable energy.