Orlando has announced their commitment to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. City mayor Buddy Dyer backed up his signature on the Sierra Club’s list of “Mayors for 100% Clean Energy,” joining the ranks of many other Florida mayors that are interested in the movement. Making the official announcement moves Orlando into the list of 35 cities that have set goals in the United States.
All municipal buildings in Orlando were already going to transition to fully sustainable sources by 2030, but this new announcement now pushes the entire community into the category by 2050. The Orlando City Commission approved the move unanimously on Tuesday. Highlighted by the Orange County League of Women Voters, director Sara Isaac told Sierra Club that she was proud of the city looking toward a sustainable future.
"We applaud the City of Orlando for looking ahead to the future and seeing that a better tomorrow is possible if we take bold action today. Orlando is a young city that is just now beginning to fully realize its possibilities. This action showcases Orlando as a potential powerhouse player on the national stage."
Co-President of the organization, Carol Davis, added that this movement was important for Orlando on multiple levels, stating, “Orlando takes its place on the regional, state and national stage as a forward-thinking city committed to a healthier, sustainable future. This is a first, important step, and we plan to continue to support and encourage the City to follow with concrete measures that solidify this commitment."
While there are 142 mayors that have shown interest in a fully renewable future, 35 of them have actually approved measures to get this done. Orlando is the third city in Florida to accomplish this, joining St. Petersburg and Sarasota. The former was the initial city in the state to make a commitment back in late November. Sarasota pledged to transition to clean energy by 2045 two months ago.
Orlando has been making a push for renewable energy since starting up its Green Works Orlando initiative. Dyer launched the program over 10 years ago and it has resulted in over $1 million energy savings per year. Some of the biggest success they’ve had is investing $19 million in energy efficiency improvements to municipal buildings (and creating 10 LEED-certified ones), planting 10,000 trees, and increasing recycling by 35 percent.
With so much work being done to switch toward a more sustainable life, it’s not a surprise to see them be one of the first cities in the United States to make a 100 percent renewable energy commitment. They’re also one of the rare heavily-populated East Coast cities making the pledge. Atlanta, Georgia, was the first back in May with Columbia, South Carolina, joining next a month later.
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