On October 27th, St. Louis, Missouri, announced its intentions to get all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2035. That makes it the 47th city in the United States to announce such a goal.
The city’s Board of Aldermen had unanimously voted to have St. Louis make the transition to wind, solar power, and other renewables. The first step will be to assemble a committee to form a plan by December 2018 for making the transition. The committee will include utility representatives, environmentalists, business people, workers, and others.
Other cities have already committed to switching to 100 percent renewables, and some have made major strides. St. Louis, however, is starting far behind most such cities, for less than five percent of their electricity currently comes from renewables. Eighty percent comes from coal, and much of the rest comes from nuclear power.
The announcement also surprised people because St. Louis is the corporate home of many coal companies, including Arch Coal and Peabody Energy, which are currently the biggest coal companies.
The President of the Board of Aldermen, Lewis E. Reed, explained the board’s stance. With President Trump denying the reality of climate change and consequently dragging his feet on the matter, it has fallen to states and cities to pick up the slack.
The board’s vote is largely symbolic, for they don’t really have the authority to make businesses or residents start buying renewables. Fortunately, some major companies, like Nestle Purina and Anheuser Busch, have already started switching to 100 percent renewables. The state’s largest utility, Ameren Missouri, announced last month that it planned to spend $1 billion on renewables. It will construct 700 megawatts’ worth of wind farms by 2020. Wind power will consequently generate ten percent of the electricity produced by Ameren. The utility also plans to build enough solar arrays to produce 100 megawatts over the next decade.