The St. Petersburg council has agreed to transition the city to 100 percent clean, renewable energy.
The vote makes St. Pete the first Florida municipality and the 20th in the U.S. to make the commitment and sign on to the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 national campaign, according to the club’s local branch.
The local branch, the Suncoast Sierra Club, sponsors the Ready for 100 Percent St. Pete local campaign that the city also supports. Ready for 100 percent St. Pete develops residential and commercial pilot programs with partner organizations and raises public awareness of clean energy and climate planning.
“This is a historic moment for St. Pete,” said Emily Gorman, manager for the local campaign. “We envision a city where families can raise their kids in communities free from toxic pollution, where everyone has the opportunity for a good job and access to healthy, affordable energy. The transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy will ensure a more resilient, sustainable and equitable future for all our residents.”
Gorman’s comments came after St. Pete’s city council committee of the whole unanimously voted to allocate $250,000 of BP Oil Spill settlement funds to an “Integrated Sustainability Action Plan” that will chart a road map to 100 percent clean, renewable energy in St. Petersburg.
The 100 percent clean energy roadmap builds on Mayor Rick Kriseman’s executive order establishing a net-zero energy goal for the city.
“This is the most robust, comprehensive climate planning initiative St. Petersburg has ever undertaken,” Kriseman said. “Working toward 100 percent clean energy and zero waste is just one way we continue to build our city of opportunity where the sun shines on all who come to live, work and play. We still have a lot of work to do, but I want to thank city council for their partnership and leadership in unanimously voting to pass this plan.”
In addition to the $250,000 allocated for the Integrated Sustainability Action Plan, two other projects have been funded from the reserved $1 million from the BP Oil Spill settlement funds.
Another $250,000 has been earmarked for an energy efficiency audit and energy retrofits for city facilities and $300,000 has been allocated for collaboration with Pinellas County in developing a vulnerability assessment and modeling program that will assess the impacts and risks from potential future scenarios, such as sea level rise and direct hurricane hits.
“St. Pete’s commitment to sustainability and resiliency shows we lead the way in strategic economic development, smarter infrastructure investments, long-term planning, and measurable quality of life improvements for everyone,” Council member Darden Rice said. “It enhances the identity of our city and tells the world we are serious about clean energy solutions.”