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Fayetteville Becomes 54th US City to Make 100% Renewable Energy Pledge


Fayetteville Becomes 54th US City to Make 100% Renewable Energy Pledge

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

City council passes carbon-slashing energy plan that vows 100 percent community-wide clean energy by 2050

A demonstrator holds a sign in New York City during the 2014 People's Climate March. (Photo: Chris Yakimov/flickr/cc)


It’s so easy to make pledges you’re never going to be around to fulfill.


Pledges like that need to become LAWS! We have reached a time in our evolution that if we don’t start getting RADICAL about helping the Earth survive human infestation, the results will be horrific.


As pointed out a pledge only lasts as long as the pledge-ee. A new administration can derail it in a instant as Mr Trump did with the Paris Accords. Poof! Gone! This does show that the general population is emerging from all the climate resistance propaganda spread by the evil energy corporations over the last 30+ years. I hope this gains speed throughout the country.


You know as well as I do that such pledges will remain pledges. No one loves virtue signaling more than a politician, especially when they know they aren’t going to be in that office in 25 years.


THAT is why I said to make it LAW instead of a “pledge”. Shit, I could pledge to buy exclusively at Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and ALL “big box” stores, but I’d rather eat slow-moving caterpillars for breakfast than support those corporate scum-suckers!


I prefer my caterpillars lightly toasted…

But you know they’re NEVER going to actually make it a law. Hell, then they’d actually have to DO something.


Good point. Universe forbid they should actually have to look out for “We the People”!


Notwithstanding all the negativity expressed here, I find a certain amount of relief and hope in the notion that a city in the state of Arkansas, a very red and conservative state, has expressed a political position that recognizes the importance and urgency of responding to climate change. Rather than expressing doubt and cynicism, I urge us all to do what we can to reinforce this event and do all we can to make it successful.

We, and especially our children and grandchildren, depend on making this happen – in all corners of the world.


Notice how this pledge doesn’t have any kind of actual plan associated with it? There are no details about how exactly the community will achieve 100% “renewable energy” (btw is entirely a subjective marketing term for energy as there is no scientific consensus on set criteria to determine if a source is renewable or not, which is why what the Sierra Club calls renewable is different from the Jacobson Plan).

Furthermore when you look at cities that call themselves 100% renewable today, you will actually find that their claims are ever so slightly misleading. For example Georgetown, Texas claimed to be 100% renewable in 2016, but when you actually look how this city generates energy you will find that the city doesn’t actually have any renewable power plants in the city. Instead what happens is the city’s utility provider buys electricity from wind farms more than 100 miles away from the city. In fact Georgetown has historically actually still been using natural gas to power the city during times wind load reduction. Therefore in actuality while this city claims to be 100% renewable they first of all still use fossil fuels, and secondly take electricity from other areas.

Georgetown is also not the only 100% renewable city that does this. Burlington, Vermont makes the same claim, when in reality they don’t generate renewable energy, but instead buys hydroelectric power from Pennsylvania. Not only are you are not necessarily decreasing fossil fuel production, but you are forcing more strain on certain areas to provide more power for more cities. In many cases these plants can run on high capacities and this problem is mute, but it also increases the risk of a potential situation in which blackout may become more likely as the systems do not generate enough electricity because of various scenarios than can occur.


Its fine to support movements that can reduce GHGs, but its also critically important to make plans that will actually be followed and have a possibility of being achieved. Its all nice and fine to say that you want cleaner electricity, but when you actually attempt to change your electricity you will find the problem is not that simple. This is not problem where we can just throw money at the government and all of a sudden we are 100% renewable. This complex problem includes extremely sophisticated economic, engineering, construction, and logistical, and management challenges that should be addressed, when making a plan for your city’s new energy portfolio.

This article makes no attempt to suggest that the city has actually made a plan on how to convert their city to 100% renewable, but instead relies on the reader assuming this to be the case, because they pledged it to be so. In reality pledges have a statistically very low likelihood of becoming true, when there is no formal plan in place. Additionally just because a city claims to be 100% renewable does not necessarily they do not use fossil fuels, they are more efficient, they are more economical or that they are necessarily a cleaner city. This is because 100% renewable does not necessarily mean these things. In fact as shown in my other comment, cities who actually claim to be currently 100% renewable do not necessarily generate 100% renewable energy. In fact renewability itself is subjective. By the US Federal Renewable Portfolio Standards Burlington Vermont is not even remotely renewable, as this federal criteria does not consider large scale hydroelectric to be renewable.


I want to add a comment and say that my past comments were incorrect in their message that Fayetteville does not have a plan. Based on the article’s information and subsequent links there was no data or information on how specifically the city was planning on meeting their goals. However from the city government’s document center they do actually have a 90 page report on how specifically they plan on managing such a transition. If you are interested the link below is the source of Fayetteville’s plan.

While this report still does not describe specifically how the energy needs of city will be met or what specifically the city will chose to meet its energy needs the report does communicate a detailed management scheme for planning and developing sustainable programs. The way the government breaks down action items and illustrates their timelines is actually pretty interesting. I also am relieved to find that the community is far more interested in net sustainability, which reaches beyond that of renewability and is in fact a better term to quantify energy development as its actually calculated. Therefore you are actually able to formulate plans based on math and feasible predictions of how sustainable your community is.


PS- I’m also quite annoyed the author did not include this source in their article, when this report is in my opinion more informative than the entire article and subsequent links combined. Its almost as if the author made the conscious decision not to include this source, because it had too much technical planning and descriptive information. I am annoyed by this concept, because it feels like the author assumes the audience is full millennials and we only absorb information that is short, argumentative and lacks technical information. Now I’m making a lot of assumptions, but I find this is common in articles written to my generation, and has led to epidemic of media in which facts and technical knowledge are hard to find in most articles.


Even if its a law, that still doesn’t guarantee they’ll do anything effective.
However, I suppose lip service and greenwashing is at least a start for babies learning to babble before they walk.


Exactly right - No guarantees, but it’s a step beyond “promises”