As technology improves and cities look for a way to better serve their residents, St. Petersburg, Florida has committed to a cutting edge plan to become the first city in Florida to garner all its energy from renewable resources. The proposal, entitled the Integrated Sustainability Action Plan, has been described as a road map to creating a long-term plan in which the city uses 100 percent clean energy to power itself. This ambitious undertaking is not out of character for the city. In 2007, St. Pete was dubbed the first “green city” in the state of Florida for its commitment to clean energy, along with water, land, and air conservation.
The plan, which was passed unanimously by the city council, makes St. Petersburg the 20th city in the nation to commit to the transition to clean and renewable energy resources. The primary investment to get this project started will come from the BP oil spill settlement. The city has committed 100 percent of settlement money they received to building out the proper infrastructure needed to get the transition started.
The strategy, which is sure to use solar energy, could help the state of Florida harness our state’s solar energy potential. Currently the state of Florida ranks 3rd in the nation in solar energy potential, however we rank outside the top 10 in terms of solar energy usage. The plan will also help bring national attention to St. Petersburg, which could help with the city’s growth and economic development for the future.
While St. Petersburg is in a unique position to take advantage of the money received from the BP oil spill settlement, the city could be used as a case study for Florida cities looking to harness the power of renewable resources. Going forward, it is likely that many cities will closely follow what plays out in St. Pete, and look to perfect the process. As technology advances, and the use of sustainable energy becomes more feasible, look for many cities around Florida to create plans to transition to renewable energy resources.