Philadelphia plans to cut emissions from city buildings, buy all renewables

  • Jon Hurdle
Patrick Whittaker of Solar States installs solar panels on the roof of a home in Bryn Mawr.

Emma Lee / WHYY

Patrick Whittaker of Solar States installs solar panels on the roof of a home in Bryn Mawr.

Philadelphia officials on Wednesday unveiled a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, reduce energy use from the built environment and use 100 percent renewable energy to power city properties by 2030.

The goals are part of the new Municipal Energy Master Plan, which aims to help the city meet the goals of the Paris Climate Accord to curb carbon emissions and limit temperature gains worldwide.

In June, Mayor Jim Kenney joined other municipal leaders and state governors in declaring that they would continue to pursue the Paris goals even though President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the global agreement.

The new Philadelphia plan aims to cut energy use in city-owned buildings by 20 percent by 2030; maintain or reduce the cost of energy in the city’s built environment; and generate or purchase power from only renewable sources by 2030. It also hopes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the built environment by 50 percent from 2006 levels by 2030.

The city and the Renewable Energy Authority will issue a request for proposals for a renewable energy power purchase agreement under which Philadelphia would for the first time make a long-term commitment to buy renewable energy from a utility-scale wind, solar or other renewable power source in the region. The authority is a city-funded entity that, unlike city agencies, is able to perform functions like holding a long-term power purchase agreement.

As part of the energy campaign, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the largest energy consumer among the City’s 600 buildings, announced a retrofit that includes lighting upgrades and building controls, designed to save energy.

“If we are to ask residents and the business community to do their part in fighting climate change, the city must lead by example,” Kenney said in a statement.

Later this year, the city said it will release a broader “citywide energy vision.”

Up Next

Last two Dimock families settle lawsuit with Cabot over water