Boston, Mass. - A bipartisan group of 180 U.S. mayors, representing cities large and small in 42 states, are speaking out in support of solar energy. In a letter released today by Environment America, the mayors resolve to make solar power a key element of their communities' energy plans and call on others to embrace clean energy from the sun.
"The transition to a clean energy future is one of the greatest opportunities of the 21st century for cities to improve community health, quality of life, environmental sustainability, and a vibrant and robust economy,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “More than 50 percent of the world's population now lives in cities, so we have to be the ones leading on important issues such as climate resiliency and sustainability.”
Cities such as Bozeman, Mont., that are known for their natural beauty and a high quality of life, are switching to solar energy to maintain their reputations.
“Bozeman recognizes that clean solar energy helps to preserve our outdoor recreation economy, quality of life, and community resiliency,” said Mayor Cyndy Andrus. “We are committed to expanding solar energy opportunities at the utility-scale and the local-level. We are streamlining our solar permitting processes, offering small grants to businesses for energy efficiency and renewable energy, and working alongside our utility to advance community solar.”
In Encinitas, Calif., solar energy is helping the city achieve ambitious goals to help the climate.
“Supporting solar initiatives is a big part of reaching our Climate Action Plan goals,” said Mayor Catherine Blakespear. “We’re aiming to have 100% of our community’s electricity supplied by renewable sources by 2030. And over the next couple of years, we plan to install enough solar panels on our municipal buildings to become a Net Zero Energy city.”
At a time when federal support of clean energy seems unlikely, local governments have an important role in transitioning the United States toward renewable energy for the future. Earlier this month, Environment America released a new guide for local officials: Ten Ways Your City Can Go Solar.
“Cities everywhere should take steps to switch to solar energy,” said Emma Searson, Environment America’s Go Solar Campaign Coordinator. “By tapping into the power of the sun, cities can benefit from cleaner air and improved public health, while simultaneously tackling climate change.”