Mayor Walsh calls on cities to join large-scale renewable energy initiative
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced his plans to issue a Request for Information (RFI) for competitive pricing of large-scale renewable energy projects. The RFI will compile the energy demand data across participating U.S. cities and ask renewable energy developers for price estimates for projects that would meet their collective energy demand. Mayor Walsh today calls on more cities to join the renewable energy initiative and will lead a coalition of cities that provide their energy demand data in the RFI.
"Our effort on renewable energy will not only help cities cut carbon emissions and get us closer to the goals of Paris Climate Agreement, it will help power our cities and create more, clean energy jobs," said Mayor Walsh. "We can do more than just address the problem of climate change, we can build a healthy, thriving future by working together."
The City of Boston is working with partner cities now to compile the collective energy load data for the RFI. The first cities to join the initiative include Chicago, IL; Evanston, IL; Houston, TX; Los Angeles, CA; Orlando, FL; and Portland, OR. Each of these cities are part of the Climate Mayors network, representing more than 400 cities and 70 million people that Mayor Walsh Co-Chairs.
"Cities wield the power to create demand and transform the energy market - and when we act together, we can show the world that environmental stewardship and economic prosperity go hand in hand," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "As a chair of Climate Mayors, I'm proud to stand beside Mayor Walsh in the work of amplifying the role of cities and upholding the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement."
"I'd like to thank Mayors Garcetti, Emanuel, Hagerty, Turner, Dyer, and Wheeler for joining me on this initiative," said Mayor Walsh. "I look forward to working with other Climate Mayors in our network and beyond to keep the momentum going and demonstrating our role as city leaders to put forth real solutions."
"I applaud Mayor Walsh for taking aggressive steps to bring down carbon emissions levels in Boston, and for bringing cities together to protect the environment and grow jobs across the country," said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "The Trump administration has buried its head in the sand on climate change, which is why we committed all of Chicago's municipal buildings to 100% renewable by 2025."
"As the energy capital of the world, Houston will play a critical role in transforming the way we power the future. Our city, the largest municipal user of renewable energy in the nation, is proof that even big cities in red states cities can act on climate and maintain a robust, growing economy," said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
"Cities that invest in renewable energy are making the responsible choice for our global future and bringing our significant purchasing power to bear in the transition to a clean energy economy," said Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, OR.
"All cities have a stake in the fight against climate change," said Evanston, IL Mayor Stephen Hagerty. "I'm proud to partner with Mayor Walsh and mayors from across the country to explore ways to collectively reduce carbon emissions in our cities. Global climate action begins at the local level, and by working together we can have a much greater impact."
As more cities join the initiative, their energy demand data will be added to the collective load. The City of Boston hopes to finalize the list of participating cities and issue the RFI later this summer for responses from renewable energy developers. This action demonstrates the collective power of cities to invest in renewable energy and create more, middle class, clean energy jobs. If successful, a large-scale purchase of renewable energy will help power these cities, save money, and offset carbon emissions.
Mayor Walsh officially announced his plans for the renewable energy initiative at today's International Mayors Climate Summit in Boston. Mayors from across the country and around the world joined Mayor Walsh and leaders from public and private sectors at Boston University. The group will discuss actions taken by mayors to address climate change globally and in their own communities. The one-day Summit will include a fireside chat with Secretary John Kerry, 68th U.S. Secretary of State, and Vice Chair of Bank of America Anne Finucane on financing global climate solutions. The Summit will also feature remarks from Administrator Gina McCarthy, 13th Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before participating in panel on transportation.
The Summit will be live-streamed and available to watch on Boston.gov/climate-summit.
The Summit will also include a panel with the Co-Chairs of Climate Mayors, a network of U.S. mayors that participated in a similar joint-city initiative last year that demonstrates the collective power of cities to advance climate goals. The Climate Mayors initiative, led by the City of Los Angeles, issued an Electric Vehicle Request for Information (EV RFI) with 30 other cities in efforts to aggregate municipal demand of electric vehicles across the country. The EV RFI demonstrated demand for nearly 115,000 vehicles of all classes, including trash trucks, street sweepers, semis, shuttles, and buses - with an estimated value of $10 billion to replace the entire fleet. The RFI received 40 responses across all vehicle segments.
ABOUT BOSTON'S CLIMATE INITIATIVES
Boston is taking bold action on climate to become a carbon neutral, climate ready city as outlined in its updated Climate Action Plan. Boston's Climate Action Plan serves as Boston's roadmap for reaching its goals of reducing carbon emissions and preparing for the impacts of climate change. The goals are supported by Imagine Boston 2030, the first citywide plan in 50 years, that helps to ensure that climate plays a role in aspects of city planning.
The city's current climate initiatives are laying the groundwork to advance its climate goals and to accelerate progress. Carbon Free Boston is analyzing the options and pathways to achieve deep decarbonization. The initiative is weighing the costs and benefits of technologies and policies across key action areas including electric power, buildings, transportation, and waste. As part of this effort, Zero Waste Boston is exploring pathways to turn Boston into a zero waste city through planning, policy, and community engagement.
Additionally, Climate Ready Boston is strengthening Boston's climate change resilience with near- and long-term planning. It is actively advancing Boston's vision of a resilient city through a comprehensive citywide vulnerability study, a community outreach program, and neighborhood-level implementation projects, including the installation of a flood wall in one of Boston's most flood-prone neighborhood.
All of these initiatives will inform the upcoming update of Boston's Climate Action Plan.