Philadelphia Makes Pledge To Run Entirely On Renewable Energy By 2035

European countries like Sweden are planning to run on 100 percent renewable energy by 2040 or earlier. Those goals have extended toward the United States and numerous cities (and states such as Hawaii) are joining in the efforts despite the country no longer being part of the Paris Accord. Philadelphia becomes another major city to join the movement after their mayor, Jim Kenney, signed a new pledge this week.

The Sierra Club has started a pledge called “Mayors For 100% Clean Energy,” and approximately 300 other cities are apart of the new agreement to reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. Many large cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago have already signed off, and the reach has gone through over 60 million people through 42 states as of June 12th according to Curbed.

What is Philadelphia planning to do in order to reach their 2035 goal? Perhaps the biggest idea is the Philadelphia Energy Campaign, which will be a 10-year program that will focus on “municipal buildings, K-12 schools, low-income residential, and small business” sectors. According to their mission page, they hope to create 10,000 jobs and save $200 million with sustainable energy.

Something of this magnitude was already in the works back in late 2015. The ball really started rolling in the following February when the campaign was officially launched and covered by local press. They’ve updated their efforts back in December 2016 with a press conference.

Other efforts already in progress is planting more trees in every Philadelphia neighborhood. TreePhilly is the initiative behind this effort since 2012 and their goal is to have “at least 30 percent tree canopy coverage.” They are giving away trees for everybody that has their own yard and have also added “street trees” along sidewalks and other openings that are not obtrusive. As of today, the website boasts that over 17,500 free trees have been handed out and over 8,000 local residents have taken part in the project.

Another plan is the “Zero Waste and Litter” initiative. There will be a third pickup truck that will pick up organic trash from plants and animals, which will be free of charge and eliminates the need of paying for a private service to come by. They will be rating sections of the city on a four-point scale -- the more points given, the dirtier the area is. Another way to clean things up to limit cafes like Starbucks from giving to-go cups to customers staying inside.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority has also announced the construction of 3.1 megawatts of solar panels in four different areas: 2nd & Wyoming, Fern Rock, Callowhill, and Roberts. SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel said in the press release that this new “project will increase the total installed capacity of solar PV systems across the city by more than 30 percent.”

Philadelphia’s movement has already been pushing forward for quite some time. Signing up to run on 100 percent renewable energy by 2035 is another great move for a city that’s looking to get rid of their reputation as “Filthadelphia.”

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