- A coalition of U.S. mayors announced a new Mayors for 100% Clean Energy national initiative last week that aims to push other cities and municipalities to shift to sustainable energy sources, according to Curbed.
- The initiative builds on the Sierra Club's Ready for 100 campaign — which aims to achieve 100% renewable energy across the U.S. by 2050 — and encourages more cities to make a pledge to renewable energy ahead of June's U.S. Conference of Mayors.
- Twenty-six U.S. cities have already pledged to transition to renewable energy, including San Diego and Miami Beach, FL, while cities including Denver and Los Angeles are looking into ways to make the shift.
The move by mayors to rally around renewable energy follows an increasing trend of cities across the U.S. pursuing sustainable energy practices. In April, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans to shift 900 city-owned buildings to completely renewable energy by 2025, marking the largest U.S. municipality to take on such a commitment. Similarly, Aspen, CO, Burlington, VT, and San Francisco have all made similar goals in recent months.
Pledge or not, other officials are turning to renewable energy practices to power their municipalities. In December 2016, Las Vegas activated its Boulder Solar 1 array, enabling the city government to function on completely renewable solar and hydroelectric power sources. Outside of government, Las Vegas casinos are following suit and installing rooftop photovoltaic arrays to boost their energy savings.
Across market segments, the push toward energy efficiency is becoming mainstream as more owners opt for renewable energy sources, and contractors and engineers move to implement more sustainable products and systems. Renewable power source installation, in turn, reached a record high 138.5 gigawatts of capacity added worldwide in 2016 — nearly equating to the combined energy capacity of the world's 16 largest power-producing plants.
The movement toward sustainability will likely continue to fuel energy-related projects and employment in the sector. A January report by the Department of Energy found that projects in the energy sector accounted for more than 2 million construction jobs last year, making up nearly one-third of the industry's workforce. Approximately 1.4 million workers were involved in the energy-efficiency segment in 2016.