St. Louis Ready For 100
Vice News: With 50 US Cities Committed to 100 Percent Clean Energy, 2018 Presents New Renewable Challenges
St. Louis, for example, is just beginning that journey. In October 2017, city aldermen unanimously passed a resolution to transition to renewable energy by 2035. City Council President Lewis Reed was the resolution’s sponsor and he told VICE Impact it’s an issue with personal as well as political resonance.“I suffer from chronic allergies and I have two kids with asthma,” he says. “So I have always been a staunch advocate for having a cleaner environment and using more renewable sources of energy.”
The lens of social and racial equity and the centrality of environmental justice was also a motivating force for Reed; he says he remembers growing up in St. Louis in a family of nine kids and having their heat and power cut in winter because they couldn’t afford their bills. He hopes renewables can help make energy more accessible and jobs more abundant.
But the state’s long history with coal will make the transition more fraught than it might be elsewhere. Missouri still draws over 80 percent of its energy from coal and St. Louis is home to the headquarters of two of the nation’s largest coal companies. As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, when Anheuser Busch wanted to transition its local plant to 100 percent renewable energy, they had to look out of state for renewable sources. Local energy providers like Ameren will be crucial in the work to transition away from fossil fuels. (Reed, for one, says that he has been “pleasantly surprised” by the cooperation from Ameren thus far.)