Athens 4th Georgia city to adopt 100% clean energy plan

Credit: AJC

Credit: AJC

Athens is the fourth city in Georgia to commit to a 100% clean energy plan.

On Tuesday, the Athens-Clarke County (ACC) Commission unanimously voted to adopt the goal of 100% clean, renewable electricity by 2035.

With the vote, Athens joins Atlanta, Augusta and Clarkston in the commitment to move away from energy sources that have a detrimental impact on the environment.

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“Whether it’s increasingly severe droughts or extreme storms the impacts of climate change are not just future threats -- they’re already here; This bold goal will help ensure that Athens joins cities and states across the country in the fight for a cleaner and safer environment for generations to come,” said Cary Ritzler, the Director of Environment Georgia’s 100% Athens Project in a statement.

ACC currently uses about 15% clean and renewable energy. The approved plan calls for ACC to meet 100 % of its energy needs from clean and renewable energy sources produced on‐or‐for Unified Government properties by 2035. By 2050 ACC will generate 60 percent of its renewable energy locally.

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The larger community of Athens-Clarke County will get 100% of its electricity needs from clean and renewable sources by 2035 while all other energy needs such as transportation will be met by 100% clean and renewable energy sources by 2050.

The new approach is also designed to address historical inequities that have resulted in many households in Athens-Clarke County spending an above average percentage of their monthly income on electricity.

Over the past decade, six cities have accomplished the goal of shifting to 100% clean, renewable energy including Aspen, Colorado; Georgetown, Texas; Greensburg, Kansas; Burlington, Vermont; Kodiak Island, Alaska; and Rock Port, Missouri.

In March, Atlanta passed a clean energy plan considered to be one of the most comprehensive plans in the Southeast making it a case study for cities across the state planning their own transitions.