US mayors recognized for climate protection efforts focused on EVs, renewables

Source: By Jason Plautz, Utility Dive • Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Los Angeles has long positioned itself as an urban leader on climate change. This spring, Garcetti released “L.A.’s Green New Deal,” which accelerated the city’s climate action goals to put it on a path for 100% renewable energy by 2045 and 100% zero-emissions vehicles by 2050.

The Mayors’ Climate Protection Award recognized Garcetti’s work in establishing the EV purchasing collective, a platform for cities to electrify their municipal fleets by offering them access to a single, competitive bid contract that lowers costs and shows the collective interest in the cars. Since launching in September, 125 cities and nine counties have used it to commit to purchasing nearly 2,000 EVs.

The recognition of Fayetteville shows that small cities have their own role to play in fighting climate change. The city has a goal to achieve 100% clean energy by 2030, up from about 16% clean energy today.

A big part of that is the city’s collaboration with Ozarks Electric Cooperative and Today’s Power Inc. for the state’s largest solar power system on municipal land, the first in Arkansas with on-site utility-scale storage. That project alone will provide more than 50% of the city’s renewable energy, but Fayetteville is also investing in solar panels on municipal buildings and a wastewater treatment plant.

As the federal government pulls back from climate action, cities have emerged as the key leaders, with many of them exploring their own Green New Deal-type plans or setting ambitious climate goals. According to America’s Pledge, the work of 3,000 sub-national partners has the U.S. on track to lower emissions 17% below 2005 levels by 2025, halfway to the country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement.