Today’s Solutions: December 10, 2023

As countries large and small struggle with the undeniable impacts of climate change, more and more cities are taking a lead in mapping out strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. One particularly fruitful avenue to follow involves stamping out the excessive burning of fossil fuels. Well, the USA’s “second city” may have just pushed the needle in a big way.

On August 8, 2022 Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a plan to have Chicago’s airports, libraries, and water-purification plants will be running on 100 percent clean energy by 2025. 

This eco-conscious move is part of a greater deal to shift all city-wide operations to renewable sources, and following through with these plans will make Chicago one of the largest US cities to commit to clean energy. For the full press conference, you can watch here!

According to the statement released by the mayor’s office, the city signed an energy supply agreement with Constellation New Energy Inc., a retail electricity supplier, in collaboration with Swift Current Energy. The agreement is valued at up to $422 million begins with a five-year term that is set to start in January 2023. 

Furthermore, to help Chicago source its substantial energy needs, the city is permitted to access the energy from a solar project currently in development by Swift Current Energy. We’ve written previously about the innovative Bronzeville Microgrid, which is already in place, and shows how Illinois and Chicago are leaders in this transition.

Removing over 290,000 tons of carbon

Sandra Blakemore, acting commissioner for the city’s Department of Assets, Information & Services explained, “As the owner or operator of over 425 facilities city-wide, including City Hall and one of the world’s busiest airports, it is imperative that we as city leaders take all measures necessary to decarbonize our assets and to mitigate the disastrous effects of climate change.”

The initiative is expected to lower Chicago’s carbon footprint by over 290,000 metric tons per year. This is equivalent to the emissions associated with 62,000 passenger vehicles.

In addition to the impressive reductions to carbon other harmful emissions, this deal promises to create thousands of jobs for local residents. According to the city’s statement, Constellation and Swift Energy have also pledged to fund education, job training, and  apprenticeships. These programs will help to create the sustainable workforce needed to maintain these clean energy resources and provide an economic boon to one of the largest urban areas in the country.

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