With a recent city council vote, Atlanta became the first major city in the Southeast to start the conversion to all renewable energy sources.
The vote falls in line with a nationwide trend where cities are leading the clean energy transition. Atlanta is the 27th city in the U.S. to make a commitment to all renewables and follows others in the region like Boone, N.C. As more cities and major corporations like Amazon and Google commit to sourcing energy from sources such as wind and solar, it is pushing utilities in those areas to provide the clean alternatives some of their largest customers want.
“It’s an interesting narrative about leadership cities can have in crafting their own destiny when it comes to energy policy,” Senior Attorney Katie Ottenweller told Southeast Energy News. “It’s a testament to market forces, regardless of what is going on in D.C. or in state capitals or in board rooms of investor-owned utilities.”
Under Atlanta’s plan, the city has until 2035 to move away from fossil fuels and will do so in phases. The first task will be moving city vehicles and buildings, like its libraries and the airport, to renewable power by 2025. The next ten years will focus on converting all power generation in the city.
“We know that moving to clean energy will create good jobs, clean up our air and water, and lower our residents’ utility bills,” said Kwanza Hall, the city council member who introduced the bill. “We never thought we’d be away from landline phones or desktop computers, but today we carry our smart phones around and they’re more powerful than anything we used to have. We have to set an ambitious goal or we’re never going to get there.”