Chicago Commits to Transition Public Buildings to Renewables

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Posted: Monday, April 10, 2017 8:16 pm

CHICAGO, Ill. -- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently announced a commitment to transition Chicago municipal buildings and operations to 100 percent clean and renewable energy by 2025. Chicago’s commitment represents the largest fleet of public buildings in the country to transition to 100 percent renewable energy, which will supply clean energy to the equivalent of roughly 295,000 Chicago households.

Chicago’s announcement comes on the heels of President Trump’s recent action to halt the federal Clean Power Plan, which aimed to reduce carbon emissions by moving away from dirty energy sources through energy efficiency and renewable energy.

"Today's action is a historic step forward in establishing Chicago as a clean energy leader," said Sierra Club Illinois Chapter Director Jack Darin. "While President Trump and his administration would reverse America's progress on climate change and clean energy, Mayor Emanuel is ensuring that Chicago will move forward, and that its residents will benefit from the good jobs and cleaner air that come from renewable energy projects. 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 percent clean energy."

Chicago and the state of Illinois have made strides in recent years by shifting away from dirty fuels and expanding access to renewable energy.

In 2014, after a ten-year campaign led by the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization and other community groups, Midwest Generation’s Fisk and Crawford coal-fired power plants closed down. The NAACP Coal Blooded report, which found that low-income and minority communities are disproportionately affected by health-threatening pollution from coal plants, had ranked the Fisk and Crawford plants as the first and third worst violator of environmental justice in the country. LVEJO and other community and environmental justice organizations are now working to develop job training and placement programs to prepare residents of environmental justice and low income communities for opportunities in the clean energy economy.

In December, the Illinois General Assembly approved historic legislation bringing together a wide variety of stakeholders to modernize Illinois’ energy policy including much needed updates to the Renewable Portfolio Standard and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard. These updates will open the door for more clean energy development across the state, create tens of thousands of jobs and provide Illinois with a strong path forward in moving beyond dirty and expensive fossil fuels.

SOURCE: Sierra Club

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