U.S. Mayors Announce Large-Scale Renewable Energy Initiative

By Betsy Lillian
North American Wind Power
June 7, 2018

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh has announced plans to issue a request for information (RFI) for competitive pricing of large-scale renewable energy projects for U.S. cities.

According to the mayor, the RFI will compile energy demand data across participating U.S. cities and ask renewable energy developers for price estimates for projects that would meet the collective demand.

The City of Boston is currently working with partner cities to compile the collective energy load data for the RFI. The first cities to join the initiative include Chicago; Evanston, Ill.; Houston; Los Angeles; Orlando, Fla.; and Portland, Ore. Each of these cities is part of the Climate Mayors network, representing more than 400 cities and 70 million people, of which Walsh is a co-chair.

Walsh, leading the coalition of cities, is calling on more cities to join the renewable energy initiative.

“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,” he says. “We can do more than just address the problem of climate change; we can build a healthy, thriving future by working together.”

“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,” says 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.”

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.

Walsh announced the initiative at today’s International Mayors Climate Summit in Boston. Mayors from across the country and around the world are joining Walsh and stakeholders from public and private sectors at Boston University. The group is discussing actions taken by mayors to address climate change globally and in their own communities. The one-day summit also includes a fireside chat with John Kerry, the 68th U.S. secretary of state, and Anne Finucane, vice chair of Bank of America, on financing global climate solutions. The summit also features remarks from Gina McCarthy, 13th administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In response to the news, Deb Pasternak and Emily Norton, chair and director of the Massachusetts Sierra Club chapter, respectively, have issued the following statements:

“While we welcome any and all new ideas from Mayor Walsh when it comes to addressing climate change, we are still waiting on the mayor to take action on the ideas already on the table, such as Community Choice Energy (CCE), which was approved unanimously by the Boston City Council but the mayor is lagging on implementing,” says Norton. “CCE would boost the amount of renewable energy being used by Boston residents and businesses, keeping energy dollars here in our region, and expanding the growth of local, good-paying jobs.”

“Mere months ago, Boston suffered record-breaking flooding and storm surges,” adds Pasternak. “While this new announcement is promising, the Walsh administration is still approving millions of square feet of new development without mandating climate mitigation or resiliency and approving massive new fracked gas infrastructure to luxury apartment buildings. We need to see Boston do more and truly lead when it comes to protecting Boston residents and communities from climate change.”