How can Atlanta be green to 100%?

Like any other city, Atlanta is woven with power lines, trams and buses. The run-off of Atlanta is mainly from coal, natural gas and nuclear energy. Only 6% to 8% come from renewable sources.

“Going from that number to 100% by 2035 is obviously a heavy goal,” said Amol Naik, Atlanta's chief resilience officer.

He says the green energy plan, approved by Atlanta City Council in March – which aims to achieve 100% green in 16 years – is “ambitious and achievable.” But, he acknowledges, there is no way. easy to go there.

“Basketball does not take place at home or four five-point shot. This is something that needs to happen in an incremental way over a number of years, ”said Naik. “Many people are sitting around a table showing the best way forward.” T

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More than 100 cities have recently pledged to run 100% renewable energy, signing in to the Sierra Club's “Ready for 100” campaign. But turning a commitment is to act when work starts harder, and Atlanta may be the final test case: Al Gore, US Vice President, said if possible at Atlanta get green energy, anyone can.

So how will the people in Atlanta increase the city's green energy supply from 8% to 100% by 2035? They will begin to use less energy.

“Many results are left with little hassle,” said Matt Cox, CEO of the Greenlink Group, who helped with the new Atlanta plan crafts.

Cox says that you start with the basics: insulating old houses and installing energy efficient lights and better cooling and heating systems.

“We identified an opportunity to reduce consumption in the city by 25% to 30%, just through the energy efficiency side.” T

Matt Cox, Greenlink Group, CEO

“We identified an opportunity to reduce consumption in the city by 25% to 30%, just through the energy efficiency side.” T

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And Cox says studies have found that there is another benefit in investing efficiency: “They showed an internal return rate of over 60%. That is six percent percent. This type of return is a great opportunity for investment that you don't see much anywhere. You look at the stock market, you'll be happy to get 7% or 10% off that. ”

But it is just efficiency. The Atlanta plan also depends on the erection of many solar panels – on houses, commercial buildings and utility scale solar farms. It places banks on things like improved battery storage for solar energy as well as renewable energy credits from outside the state to offset coal and gas power coming from the local grid. The Atlanta mix will still contain a lot of nuclear power, and share environmentalists.

But whatever the city does to achieve its goal, Atlanta will want to co-operate from a number of key players that are not as fungic as the new plan.

“I think it would be a dream. Talking in the country, it is a pretty good fodder, but fodder is not very much about fodder. ”

Lauren “Bubba” McDonald Jr., Georgia Public Service Commission, chairman

“I think it would be a dream. Speaking of the country, good fodder good, but the fodder does not feed much food, ”said Lauren“ Bubba ”McDonald Jr., chairman of the Georgia Public Service Commission, who oversees the utility that provides the majority of state power.

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Don't forget it, McDonald supports pressure towards more solar energy. He says that in the sun's installation prices, combined with the sunny Georgian climate and with enough space to build solar farms, solar energy in the state makes sense.

“The sun will be 80 years from now and I promise you that if you want to make a bet now, I promise you that she will be shining so bright for 80 years from now and now,” said McDonald.

But he also says there are limits. If Atlanta added a paper with solar panels, this could only meet 25% of the city's energy needs.

McDonald is a free-market man, so he does not like mandates or subsidies to increase the mix of green energy. And he is not particularly concerned about the increased threat of man-made climate change, either.

“I'm not going to sit here and I have to say it's just a booey, because there might be some reason,” said McDonald. “But this Earth is here for a long time. And I strongly believe I; I am a Christian, and I know who is in charge. ”

To set up a green plan, Atlanta will sell it to regulators like McDonald, as well as legislators in the conservative Statute of the state.

“You are not in charge of climate change,” said Stephanie Stuckey, a former state representative and now the sustainability director of the Southface Institute in Atlanta.

Stuckey says that building a political coalition for green energy stimulates jobs.

“You're in charge: Let's provide economic development for the whole state,” said Stuckey. “All the areas where we are building large-scale large scale industrial solar in Georgia are in rural areas and the economic development and leaders of local government taking these projects are conservative, and are not talking about the changing climate. ”

The Atlanta green energy plan creates 8,000 new jobs in the industry if the plan is fully implemented by policy makers. Supporters say that the plan could help low-income families in other ways.

“We know that sun can lower someone's domestic energy bill,” said Chandra Farley, direct energy director with the Non-profit group Partnership for Southern Equity.

Farley says that many black families in Atlanta are struggling to keep the lights on, paying up to 10% of their income on their electricity bills, and asking policymakers to help Atlanta's low-income communities by investing. in the green plan. With Farley, it really is a matter of priority.

“Atlanta is quite separated by race and class. Behind Atlanta, it is right on the other side of the billion dollar stadium, ”Farley said.

Atlanta's new football stadium cost $ 1.6 billion, and Georgia taxpayers could pay $ 700 million for it. Supporters of the city's green energy plan say that their ideas are affecting a market.

Early days – the Atlanta green energy blueprint was approved by the City Council in March with no fixed funding source. But City Hall is making a case that it is not the right thing to tackle climate change in the future, but also to help people in the region now.

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