St. Louis sets 100 percent renewable energy target

Add it to the list– another city has made a 100 percent renewable energy pledge. On Friday, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen passed a measure to power the city entirely on renewables by 2035.

In doing so, St. Louis became the 47th city – and the largest in the Midwest so far – to make a 100 percent clean energy commitment. Other major cities to announce 100 percent commitments include AtlantaSan DiegoSalt Lake City, and Chicago. Some cities – such as Aspen, Colorado; Burlington, Vermont; and Georgetown, Texas – have already hit their targets.

St. Louis’ decision comes hot on the heels of its utility, Ameren Missouri, announcing last month that it will invest $1 billion through 2020 to buy 700 megawatts (MW) of wind in Missouri and nearby states. That would just about double installed capacity in the state: the nearly 350 wind turbines standing in Missouri have an installed capacity of 659 MW, enough electricity to power over 100,000 average homes.

Beyond keeping the lights on, Missouri also reaps the economic benefits of wind: the industry employs over 1,000 Missourians, gives up to $5 million in land-lease payments to farmers and ranchers hosting turbines, and has brought $1.4 billion in investment into Missouri’s economy.

St. Louis joins an ever-growing list of U.S. cities leading the charge on renewable energy, and wind will be an important part of transitioning to a clean energy economy. AWEA’s new brochure, “Wind Works for America’s Cities,” highlights how different cities have used wind to save their residents money and reduce their carbon footprints.

We’ll when the next city to take the 100 percent renewable plunge– recent history says we won’t have to wait long.

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