Ways cities are implementing clean energy

City rules

Relatively easy places to start

  • Adopt a resolution to get your community to 100% renewable energy by 2050 (or sooner). Sample ordinance: Pueblo, CO; Traverse City, MI; East Hampton, NY
  • Minimize zoning and permitting costs for renewable energy systems. Sample ordinance: Lancaster, CA
  • Replace all public lighting with LEDs.  Sample ordinance: New York, NY.  Examples: Oahu, Sioux Falls, New York
  • Commit to developing local renewable energy to serve local energy needs.  Sample ordinance: Taos, NM

Next steps

Getting closer

  • Study and adopt community choice aggregation. Sample ordinance: Sonoma County, CA; San Mateo County, CA (to explore CCA); also see Marin County, CA; Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council, OH.
  • Require solar installations on all new buildings. Sample ordinance: San Francisco, CA; Other examples: Lancaster, CA; Sebastopol, CA
  • Require energy disclosure upon rental or sale of single-family housing.  Sample ordinance: Austin, TX.  Examples: All homes: Austin, TX; New construction + remodels: Boulder, CO; New construction: Santa Fe, NM; Energy bill disclosure: Chicago, IL; Montgomery County, MD
  • Require energy disclosure upon rental or sale of multi-family housing.  Sample ordinance: Minneapolis, MN. Examples: Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Minneapolis, MN; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Washington, DC
  • Require minimum energy efficiency investment as part of rental licensing.  Sample ordinance: Boulder, CO.
  • Implement or increase utility franchise fee to finance energy savings programs.  Sample ordinance: Edina, MN

State rules

For a map showing how states can help or hinder local clean energy action, see our Community Power Map

  • Create a “stretch” building energy code that allows cities to go beyond the state minimum standard, or grant cities flexibility to set the most aggressive standards,  Sample law: Massachusetts, Examples: Massachusetts, Texas, Arizona, Missouri, Idaho.
  • Study the cost-effectiveness of inclusive financing for on-site energy efficiency and renewable energy.  Sample law: Mitchell County, NC.
  • Adopt community choice aggregation, allow communities to choose their electricity suppliers to save money and obtain more renewable energy.  Sample law: California; Illinois. (OH, RI, NY, NJ, MA also have this)
  • Create a community renewable energy policy that allows electric customers to collectively own and share the energy from a renewable energy project.  Sample law: Minnesota. Examples: Minnesota, Maryland, Colorado

This article originally posted at ilsr.org. For timely updates, follow John Farrell or Karlee Weinmann on Twitter or get the Energy Democracy weekly update.