City Commission moving toward supporting 100% renewable energy pledge

Resolution to be considered during June 19 regular meeting

A slide presented to the City Commission on June 5 shows the other Florida cities committed to the campaign. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

The Sarasota City Commission unanimously has authorized an initiative designed to conclude with the city’s joining the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign to transition to 100% renewable energy sources.

With involvement of community residents, staff will draft a resolution calling for the City of Sarasota’s municipal operations to be powered by renewable energy sources by 2030, a news release explains. A community-wide target of converting to 100% renewable energy by 2045 will be included in the resolution, the release adds. The City Commission is scheduled to give final approval to the plans during its next regular meeting, on June 19.

“The City Commission is sending a strong message that Sarasota is serious about seeking alternative energy sources to do our part to combat climate change and sea level rise,” said City Manager Tom Barwin in the release. “With this voluntary agreement, Sarasota will strengthen its role as an energy innovator and environmental leader, becoming a cleaner city with fewer carbon emissions, which experts say could slow the impact of sea level rise,” he continued in the release. “This is critical to Sarasota, where sea level rise threatens our infrastructure.”

Another slide shown to the commission on June 5 makes points about why the city should participate in the campaign. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

Environmental preservation and sustainability are top priorities in the City Commission’s 2017-2020 Strategic Plan, including establishing a climate adaptation plan and supporting renewable energy generation within City operations, the release points out.

“Signing on to Ready for 100 will solidify Sarasota’s commitment to sustainability and to implementing concrete, local solutions that decrease our carbon emissions,” said Stevie Freeman-Montes, the city’s sustainability manager, in the release.

The Sarasota Climate Justice Coalition approached city staff about supporting the Ready for 100 campaign, the release explains. The City of Sarasota would become the third municipality in the Florida to join the initiative, the release adds. St. Petersburg became the first, taking that action last fall. Altogether, 29 cities throughout the nation have formally supported the Ready for 100 pledge, the release points out.

Nearly 100 people attended the June 5 City Commission meeting, during which petitions signed by 2,000 supporters of the movement were presented in an effort win the unanimous board action.

The resolution is scheduled to be considered during the 2:30 p.m. portion of the City Commission meeting on Monday, June 19.