Chicago plans to run buildings on 100% renewable energy - Smart Energy Decisions

Solar, Sourcing Renewables  -  April 11, 2017

Chicago to run buildings on 100% renewable energy

The city of Chicago has pledged to run 900 of its buildings on 100% renewable energy by 2025, according to an April 9 announcement from Mayor Rahm Emanuel. 

Once implemented, Chicago will be the largest major city in the country to have a 100%  renewable energy supply for its public buildings, according to the mayor's office, which made the announcement alongside leaders from Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Park District, Chicago Housing Authority and City Colleges of Chicago. 

"As the Trump administration pulls back on building a clean energy economy, Chicago is doubling down," Mayor Emanuel said in a statement. "By committing the energy used to power our public buildings to wind and solar energy, we are sending a clear signal that we remain committed to building a 21st century economy here in Chicago."

According to the city, it and CPS, the Park District, CHA and CCC used nearly 1.8 billion kWh of electricity in 2016, amounting to 8% of all electricity use in Chicago. The commitment will be met through a combination of acquiring renewable energy credits, utility-supplied renewable energy through the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard, and onsite generation; initial purchases will begin in 2018 and 2019.

The announcement comes as a growing number of municipalities are working to increase their use of renewable energy. At least 25 U.S. cities have committed to running on 100% renewable energy, according to a recent statement from The Sierra Club. 

Mayor Emanuel announced Chicago's new commitment on the rooftop of Shedd Aquarium, which recently installed more than 900 solar panels in an effort to reduce their energy use by 50% by 2020. As a member of the city's Retrofit Chicago Energy Challenge, Shedd Aquarium has also retrofitted nearly 1,000 of its own light bulbs to LED and installed a 60,000 pound, 1-MW battery.

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