On Friday, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen unanimously approved the city’s commitment to transition to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2035. According to the Sierra Club, St. Louis now represents the largest city in the Midwest to establish a 100% renewables goal and joins 46 other communities across the U.S. to make such a commitment.
As part of the city’s commitment, a stakeholder process will begin exploring the next steps in reaching the 100% clean energy target, which includes introducing future legislation. The commitment establishes that “the city develops a plan by December 2018 to meet the clean energy goal through a transparent and inclusive stakeholder process, which includes community members as well as representatives from organizations representing labor, faith, social justice, environmental justice, frontline communities and those most impacted by our current energy systems, public health and the environment, economic development, utility sector, clean energy sector, universities and academic institutions, business, housing, employment services, low-income advocates, government, and any other relevant groups.”
“St. Louis’ commitment to 100 percent clean energy sends a powerful signal: Even in communities with long ties to coal, the benefits of clean energy are too great to ignore,” says Sara Edgar, Sierra Club organizing manager in Missouri. “Wind and solar can create jobs, lower electric bills, and give the people of St. Louis a better alternative to the highly polluting coal power.”
The Sierra Club notes St. Louis is home to major coal companies and claims regional utility Ameren Missouri relies heavily on coal-burning power generation.
“We have some of the worst polluted air in the country,” comments Rev. Rodrick Burton, a pastor at New Northside Missionary Baptist Church. “This commitment is a victory not only for our environment, but for the health of our communities. As this process continues, I hope neighbors, leaders, and our utility can come together to chart a path to clean energy that benefits everyone.”
“Clean energy is a growing industry that is creating new jobs and investing in communities that need it most. With this commitment, even more people will have access to the benefits of clean energy across St. Louis,” adds Erin Noble, board member for the Missouri Solar Energy Industries Association and director of business operations at StraightUp Solar.
The Sierra Club notes that more than 100 major businesses and corporations have committed to 100% clean energy, including some that have a presence in St. Louis, such as Anheuser-Busch InBev. The group also notes that Rock Port, Mo., is one of the first cities or towns in the U.S. to be powered entirely with renewable energy.