Gainesville Pledges to Run on 100 Percent Renewable Energy by 2045

Nikki Diefenbach

Within 27 years, the City of Gainesville, Florida plans to run only on renewable energy and have net zero greenhouse gas emissions. The non-binding resolution was passed unanimously in October, making Gainesville the fifth city in Florida to commit to become 100 percent renewable, joining Largo, Orlando, Sarasota, and St. Petersburg. 90 cities across the country, and all of California and Hawaii have set similar energy goals.

City Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos stated that “Climate change is happening, and we need to start taking action now to ensure our environment is safe for future generations.” Currently Gainesville uses 27 percent renewable sources for its utilities. The City derives its renewable energy from a biomass plant and solar power. Hayes-Santos said they are considering using electric and hybrid transportation and purchasing local energy to help reach their goal.

The Suwannee - St. Johns Group Sierra Club advocated for the resolution throughout the past year. Roberta Gastmeyer, the executive committee member of the organization, emphasized the need to include residents in the transition to new energy sources:

> We hope that all the residents in Gainesville share in the benefits of this new energy economy...By passing this resolution, the City is declaring its intention to move away from a dirty fossil fuel economy to one based on clean energy innovation. We are excited by the opportunity to work with Gainesville’s excellent Utility Advisory Board to ensure all residents will benefit from this transition, which will provide a healthier, more equitable, and more resilient community.

Julia Reiskind, of the Alachua County League of Women Voters, agreed wholeheartedly:

> This is the most important decision that you will make during your tenure as City Commissioners. All current city residents and those to come thank you.

Climate disruption is here and it is heartening to see cities and states model the sense of urgency that is needed if we are to make any change in the current dire forecast models.

Read more here and here.

Reality Changing Observations:

Q1. What role does government play in leading by example for the stewardship of our planet?

Q2. What role do religious institutions play in leading by example for the stewardship of our planet?

Q3. How does humanity’s dominion over creation as seen in Genesis 1:26-28 apply to climate change?