100% Clean Energy to electrify Chicago: What can we learn?

Winds of change have enveloped Chicago, and for all the right reasons. Chicago became the largest US City to pledge 100% renewable energy by 2040, , reports the official website of City of Chicago. Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel signed the resolution drafted on April 10th, 2019.

Chicago will collaborate with myriad local groups, including the Illinois Sierra Club, to make this shift a reality — so, how are they doing it?

The Blueprint

The legislation is titled ‘Support for Implementation of Clean Energy Transition Plan.’ Speaking for itself, the document entails a transition plan which will be presented by 2020. So, what does this document include?

The highlight of this report is its mission to power all its buildings and buses with renewable energy. The document focuses on clean electrifying buildings by 2035, and the complete electrification of Chicago Transit Authority’s bus fleet by 2040.

“Opportunities such as community solar, distributed renewable energy generation, and microgrids are making renewable electricity easier to access,” the report says. Rapidly dropping prices of wind and solar energy are the factors contributing to the transition to 100% clean energy.

Possible challenges

The document realizes the difficulties it may face while on its way to achieving the monumental pledge to get green energy. “Climate change will bring unprecedented environmental challenges including extreme heat, heavy precipitation, and flooding to our region, which will stress our finite resources.” Not only that, but Chicago suffers from rising air pollution, which elevates the number of people susceptible to asthma in the city. So, how can they overcome this?

We’re all in this together

The Ready for 100 Campaign is literally a breath off resh air. Chicago has decided to bring together the local communities to make this initiative a shared success. It “provides benefits for all residents by weighing cost-effectiveness, equity, displacement, and economic development,” the report claims. It includes “stimulating local economies” as it accentuates its commitment to developing local clean energy infrastructure to get green energy. “The Chicago Collective who wrote this Resolution — comprised of front line environmental justice communities, green groups, and unions — proves that not only can Chicago build a climate-safe future for next generations, but that a truly just transition also creates good, family-sustaining jobs to lift up communities,” says Kassie Beyer, Campaign Director of Jobs to Move America Illinois.

Illinois is home to high solar job growth. As rooted by the Illinois Clean Energy Jobs Act, the plan aims at including local communities and workers from disadvantaged neighborhoods.

“Joining 118 other cities, Chicago stands in support of developing an energy system that seeks to fortify our city’s infrastructure, reduce disproportionate exposure to pollution and environmental toxins, and enable access to clean power for all residents,” says Kyra Woods, Chicago Organizer with the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Action Campaign.

Well, do you think 20 years is enough time to completely transition to renewable energy as the only source of power?