Susan nugent should gainesville use 100 percent renewable energy – opinion – gainesville sun – gainesville, fl electricity flow chart

Countries, states and cities are attempting to increase their use of renewable energy while decreasing their reliance on fossil fuels. Using 100 percent renewable energy will prevent us from borrowing against future economic prosperity. Will Gainesville join these efforts?

Utilizing wind energy, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain and others have succeeded in days of electricity generated solely by wind. Scotland celebrated receiving all its energy from wind for one full month. Our northern neighbor, Canada, also is greatly expanding its production of wind power.

Developing countries such as Sudan are using pay-as-you-go solar panels. Bangladesh had over 3.8 million home solar panels installed by 2015. Non-profits such as One Laptop Per Child are providing solar energy for specific projects in some African countries. Costa Rica uses primarily solar energy.

At the state level, Hawaii and California plan to generate 100 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2045. South Dakota, Idaho and Montana are among other states increasing their use wind and hydroelectric for producing electricity.

Texas, too, joins states lowering their dependency on fossil fuels. Utilities there are helping that process. The chief marketing officer for TXU Energy notes that their free nighttime renewable energy program is available for both homeowners and apartment dwellers. Customers have to monitor their use and make changes to rely on electricity during specific hours.

In Florida, the use of solar to generate electricity seems obvious. Not only will using solar benefit the environment by eliminating fossil-fuel-generated electricity from the atmosphere, it also provides a boost to the economy. In the U.S., jobs in solar energy production are increasing 17 times faster than the economy.

Over 100 companies have already committed to 100 percent renewable energy with others recognizing the benefits and aiming for that goal. Many of these global companies are motivated by headquarters or branches in countries committed to the 2015 Paris agreement. They don’t want the competition to get their customers.

One concern that those resisting 100 percent renewable energy express revolves around transportation. Gainesville already is taking steps in that area. Three electric shuttles are promised in May. Many automobile manufacturers have started moving to electric cars. Toyota, Ford, Chevy, Honda and many others have made steps in this direction, joining Tesla in its efforts.

Greentech Media reported that in 2016 there were over 2 million electric vehicles on the road globally. Car manufacturers estimate between 9 million and 20 million electric vehicles could be there by 2020, and between 40 million and 70 million by 2025. As more and more electric cars hit the road, the price will continue to drop. Tesla has already started lowering its prices.

Other cities joining this effort suggest we focus on building codes. St. Petersburg’s web page on Buildings and Energy states, “How we build and operate buildings and landscapes impacts the climate, our water supply, individual health, and an owner’s pocketbook.”

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) buildings utilize about 25 percent less energy and 11 percent less water. Their recycling programs keep millions of tons of waste from landfills. In Gainesville, LEED buildings are so rare that their certification becomes news in the local paper. Builders and buyers alike all need to see the benefits of energy conservation.

The additional expense of becoming 100 percent dwindles when we see the price tag of what we take for granted, that lifestyle we will lose if we continue our reliance upon greenhouse gas producing energies. We all need to start paying now, not mortgaging the legacy of America’s greatness.