Cincinnati is working on a new power aggregation deal right now that could lead to the entire city being powered from 100 percent renewable energy sources. The deal, city officials say, could be finalized within the coming months and be in place for consumers by summer 2012.
Such a move would make Cincinnati the largest city in the United States to have its energy supply come from 100 percent renewable sources, and it might be accomplished without any significant cost difference for ratepayers.
The way it would work, city officials tell UrbanCincy, is by requiring power providers to include quotes for both the cheapest electricity available and 100 percent renewable electricity. In Oak Park, Ill., for example, the bids came back so competitive that city officials decided to go with the 100 percent renewable solution.
“There is no guarantee that our bids will come in the same as Oak Park’s, but the question may be whether we are willing to pay an additional 1 percent to pay for renewable energy,” explained Office of Environment Quality (OEQ) director Larry Falkin.
The movement towards sustainability has evidently picked up steam in Cincinnati as of late. At the first of two required public hearings, about 70 people came out to speak in favor of using completely renewable energy sources, and the environmental advocacy group Greenpeace flew a hot air ship over Cincinnati last week advocating for such change.
“The biggest thing impacting our carbon footprint is how we get our electricity,” said Falkin who explained that Cincinnati currently gets approximately 85 percent of its energy from coal. “This is probably the biggest opportunity we’ll have over the next several years to dramatically reduce Cincinnati’s carbon footprint.”