Chicago to power public buildings with 100% renewables

Chicago has plans to be the largest major city in the U.S. to have a 100% renewable energy supply for its public buildings. The city’s Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, recently announced a commitment to move many of Chicago’s city buildings’ electricity use to full-fledged renewables by 2025.

Chicago plans to power its public buildings with renewables by 2025 through a combination of renewable energy credits and utility-supplied clean energy.

The agreement was also made by Chicago Public Schools CEO Forest Claypool, Chicago Park District CEO Mike Kelly, Chicago Housing Authority Eugene Jones, Jr., Fleet and Facility Management Commissioner David Reynolds, and City Colleges of Chicago Leadership.

“As the Trump administration pulls back on building a clean energy economy, Chicago is doubling down,” Mayor Emanuel said. “By committing the energy used to power our public buildings to wind and solar energy, we are sending a clear signal that we remain committed to building a 21st century economy here in Chicago.”

Collectively the City, CPS, the Park District, CHA, & CCC used nearly 1.8 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2016, amounting to eight percent of all electricity use in Chicago. This is the equivalent to powering about 295,000 average Chicago homes. The electricity used by these agencies is the same amount of energy created by over 300 wind turbines in one year.

The new commitment will be met through a combination of acquiring renewable energy credits, utility-supplied renewable energy (via Illinois’ Renewable Portfolio Standard), and onsite generation. Initial purchases will begin in 2018 and 2019.

“[This] action is a historic step forward in establishing Chicago as a clean-energy leader,” said Jack Darin, Illinois Sierra Club President. “By moving boldly to repower its public buildings with renewable energy like wind and solar, Chicago is leading by example at a time when local leadership is more important than ever. We look forward to working with the Mayor, community leaders, and the people of Chicago to achieve this bold goal on the path to eventually powering all of Chicago with 100% clean energy.”

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