In the past decade, the consumption of renewable energy has significantly increased while the cost of renewable energy has dropped. In the United States, the percentage of renewable energy has doubled from 8 percent in 2007 to 15 percent in 2017. Despite being the largest energy source, coal use has steadily dropped and now depicts a little percentage of America’s energy source as compared to other renewable energy like wind and solar. This article highlights control strategies and technologies being utilized in three major cities; George Town, Burlington and Greensburg to minimize environmental impact caused by the use of coal and other non-renewable energy sources.
After partnering with federal and private entities, Greensburg city became 100 percent renewable by building its own wind farm, George Town significantly depends on long-term wind and solar energy to run all processes in the city while, Burlington merges biomass, hydroelectric power and tactical buying and selling of renewable energy credits. With the latest rural-urban migration, more cities must adopt renewable energy sources.
Burlington with a population of 40,000 obtained media coverage for being the primary renewable energy city. After years of commitment to having renewable energy Burlington city adopted Act 56 which required all retail electricity sale to come from renewable energy sources. The definition of renewable energy from the Act excluded coal, oil and natural gas. The interpretation of the state energy utilization board included energy from biomass, hydroelectric, solar and wind as the only renewable sources of energy to be used. After implementation in 2007, 36 states unbundled from electricity and adopted the new environmental aspects of renewable energy credits. Although the yield from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar depend on the strength of wind blowing and the sun shining, renewable amenities cannot produce the amount of energy most consumers anticipate. The sale of renewable energy credits can increase the manufacture of renewable energy sources by offering extra revenue beyond electricity production. The Burlington city requires all electric providers to procure renewable energy credits to demonstrate their compliance with energy standards set by the Act (Winmill, Jeff)
In 2017, George Town a community in Texas become 100 percent renewable as a result of continued investment in renewable energy. In George Town, wind energy is used to supply the cities high electricity demand and solar energy meets the city’s daytime electricity demand. The two energy sources produce excess electricity that is further retailed to the national grid through state wholesale market. Georgetown is not mandated by any state law to become 100 percent renewable, but rather the city residents decided to rely totally on solar and wind because they are cost-effective and possess long-term price stability compared to fossil fuels.
Unlike both George Town and Burlington, Greensburg has constructed its own renewable facility after the 2007 tornado that interrupted the city’s electric supply. Being in a class 4 wind corridor the Greensburg build its own wind farm that produces about 12.5 MW only for miles from the main town. To have sustainable supply, excess electricity from the wind project is supplied to nearby towns which in turn provide hydroelectric energy when the strength of wind decreases. The price of renewable energy in Greensburg is relatively low compared to electricity. Due to technological advancement and the urge to be 100 percent renewable, the wind that once destroyed the entire city is now being utilized to produce renewable energy without raising electricity rates (Winmill, Jeff).