Cities across the United States are more committed than ever to their roles in reducing carbon emissions. Luckily, it's becoming easier and more affordable for cities to clean their air by using renewable energy. And because of this, five U.S. cities have successfully made the switch to 100% renewable energy over the past decade. Since "100% renewable" may be defined differently in each location, each location made the transition differently. The following five cities have undergone the process to become reliant on 100% renewable energy.
- Rock Port, Missouri - Rock Port became the first community in America to become powered entirely by wind power in 2008. The 1,300 residents rely on four large wind turbines, which are connected to the power grid. This small town produces more electricity than they can use.
- Kodiak Island, Alaska - Kodiak Island has been 99% powered by wind and hydro since 2014. The island's electric company decided that 95% of the community's power would rely on renewable energy sources by 2020 after relying heavily on hydro but still burning 2.8 million gallons of diesel every year. Kodiak not only met its goal but succeeded in meeting its target six years early.
- Greensburg, Kansas - After a tornado forced half the town's population to leave in 2007, the remaining citizens decided to rebuild with a focus on sustainability. Using wind and solar power along with geothermal technologies, Greensburg achieved 100% renewable energy in 2013. Although cost was initially a major setback, the town now saves $200,000 annually in energy costs for its largest buildings.
- Aspen, Colorado - In 2015, Aspen hit its goal using mainly wind and hydropower. While it was a struggle, the city accomplished their goal in a short eight years. The city already had two hydro plants and decided to buy wind power from other states to reach 100% renewable energy.
- Burlington, Vermont - After buying a hydro plant facility in 2014, Burlington reach 100% renewable energy. Even though it once relied heavily on coal, Burlington is now powered by wood chips, wind, solar, landfill methane, and hydropower.