CLEVELAND, Ohio – Mayor Frank Jackson’s administration on Friday unveiled a plan to combat climate change by transitioning Cleveland to 100% clean and renewable energy sources by 2050.
The plan, Cleveland Clean and Equitable Energy Future Report, is to serve as a roadmap the city can follow to reduce its carbon footprint and achieve 100% clean energy transition.
If successful, Cleveland would reap several benefits, including improved health as a result of the improved environment, said Jason Wood, the mayor’s chief of sustainability.
But it also could bring economic gains of an estimated $1.5 billion over time, Wood said. New jobs – up to 5,000 by 2050 — could be created as the city as a whole works toward the goal, installing clean energy technology, the report estimates.
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The plan is an extension of Jackson’s “green city” initiative launched in 2013 and updated in 2018. That initiative included a goal that city-owned Cleveland Public Power obtain 25% of its electricity from renewable sources. It is 13% now.
But this effort goes further, seeking to get the population as a whole to participate. The unveiling also comes during what could be Jackson’s last eight-plus months in office. He has yet to say whether he will seek a fifth term.
For the report, with support from several of Cleveland’s foundations and non-profits, the city hired Greenlink Analytics – a national leader on carbon footprint accounting, utility resource planning, and environmental/social impact assessment – to study current and future energy use by both the city and community.
“As a City, we have a long commitment to sustainability which includes focusing on reducing emissions, Jackson said in a statement. “This report builds on our utility-level efforts, and includes things that residents, businesses, and the city can do to generate more clean electricity locally and to increase energy efficiency.”
Achieving the goal will require Cleveland to make greater use of clean energy, such as wind turbines and solar installations on rooftops and the ground. But it also will require a change of culture in Cleveland, Wood said.
That will start with extensive outreach efforts to show people how they can be more efficient with energy use in their homes, which will in turn cut their costs and help their wallets, Woods said.
“There is a lot of work for everybody to do,” he said.
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