St. Pete Leads the Sunshine State Toward 100% Renewable Energy

In late November, the St. Petersburg city council unanimously approved a commitment to becoming the first Florida city to transition from fossil fuels to 100% clean, renewable energy. St. Pete is only the 20th city in the United States to make such a commitment. Earlier in 2016, Mayor Rick Kriseman issued an executive order establishing a net-zero energy goal for the city. The timeline to reach the goal has not yet been clearly defined. St. Pete received a total of $6.5 million from BP as settlement for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, of which $1 million has been designated for environmental projects. $250,000 will be spent on an “Integrated Sustainability Action Plan,” or ISAP; $250,000 is allocated for an assessment of the city’s energy efficiency; and $300,000 will be spent to evaluate and mitigate the risks to the area from sea level rise and hurricanes. Suncoast Sierra Club, a 3000-member grassroots environmental group, will work with the city of St. Pete and Pinellas County to evaluate how climate change could impact the area’s most vulnerable residents. Mayor Kriseman calls the ISAP a roadmap to achieve the city’s long-term sustainability goals. Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune notes that clean energy works for everyone, and it is important for local leaders to continue to create more jobs, stronger communities, and cleaner air and water. Emily Gorman, campaign manager for Ready for 100% St. Pete envisions a city free from toxic pollution, with access to healthy, affordable energy. According to Gorman, Ready for 100% is a national campaign aimed at leveraging the power of cities to catalyze a national transition toward renewable energy. St. Pete is leading the way in the Sunshine State.

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