The city of Cincinnati (pop. 296,000) is exploring a new power portfolio that could result in the whole city having renewable energy. Another positive development is that the new system might be finalized without adding much in costs to ratepayers, perhaps as little as a one percent increase. City officials are using an approach that worked in the city of Oak Park, Illinois where power providers were required to submit bids of the cheapest electricity and from renewables. They noted the difference wasn’t so great, so it was decided the extra cost was acceptable in light of the benefits to public health and the environment. If approved, Cincinnati’s renewable energy plan might actually be producing power by the summer of 2012.
“This is probably the biggest opportunity we’ll have over the next several years to dramatically reduce Cincinnati’s carbon footprint, ” said a city official. (Source: BizJournal)
Cincinnati currently gets about 85% of its electricity from coal. Coal-burning power plants produce large amounts of toxic air pollution which makes many people sick and is linked to many deaths each year. Using coal is not necessary though, because renewable sources like solar and wind have a very large potential there.
According to Green Energy Ohio there is enough sunlight in the state to use solar for all residential electricity needs, “If solar panels covered one half of one percent of the entire State of Ohio, these photovoltaic arrays converting sunlight into electricity could supply Ohio’s yearly residential electricity load (43,280 million kWh).” (Source: Green Energy Ohio) Also, Ohio has one of the highest wind power potentials of any state east of the Mississippi with 66,000 megawatts.
So in the future, it is not only possible for a large city like Cincinnati to be powered entirely by renewable energy, it is possible, if not likely, the whole state could be also.
It’s too bad there isn’t more a coherent strategy for developing more renewable energy sources, rather than the federal government aiding two new nuclear reactor installations with $14 billion dollars.
Image Credit: Rdikeman