The First US City Powered With 100% Renewable Energy

by Andy Hart // November 1, 2016

Did you know cities across the world are ditching fossil fuels and opting for sustainable and renewable energy solutions? Burlington (VT) is one of those cities that, when running at full capacity, is effectively using 100% renewable energy!

Burlington is home to over 40,000 residents - many of which believe in sustainable culture and clean energy solutions. Besides being the first first in the country to run on renewable energy Burlington could also be the first to have a zero net energy consumption (which means the building itself generates as much if not more electricity than it uses).

The Burlington Energy Department boasts that it has not had to raise electric prices in over 8 years because of the affordability that came with renewable energy investments. Burlington Energy Department also mentions that the city uses less electricity now than it did in 1989. For nearly 2 decades the company has focused on cleaner alternatives that have ended up saving them millions of dollars per year.

"Energy efficiency investments save Burlington consumers more than $10.1 million of retail electric costs annually."

Burlington Airport Solar Roof and Car Charging Port (
Burlington Airport Solar Roof and Car Charging Port (

The city features 9 electric car charging ports, a wood-powered electric generating facility and accesses a local dam along the Winooski River to generate about a third of the city's overall electric demand.

The McNeil wood-powered electric generating facility converts around 76 tons of wood chips per hour to produce 50 megawatts of electricity which generates enough electricity to satisfy a quarter of the city's energy demands. Winooski One, the hydroelectric infrastructure is technically called, generates 7% of the energy demand. Many other energy demands are sourced from sustainable and renewable sites out of state and in Canada as well including from wind power generators and other nearby dams. The city also has a backup power generator which uses fuel but the unit stays off unless there is an emergency.

A Hydroelectric Dam on the Winooski River (Andrew Gimino Photography)
A Hydroelectric Dam on the Winooski River (Andrew Gimino Photography)

“Climate change is the biggest problem we face, maybe the biggest problem we’ve ever faced.” - University of Vermont Environmental Science Professor Taylor Ricketts

Vermont Plans To Run On Renewable Energy In The Future As Well

In 2015 the entire state of Vermont passed Act 56 which pledges the state to use 90% renewable energy by 2050. The state is also investing in new development and better technology for their renewable energy solutions. The state also made it easier for residents and business owners to have net metering allowing them to essentially spin their electric meter backwards, this cost effective measure will help businesses with solar panels and their other personal energy infrastructures.

Burlington & Vermont Are Setting The Bar Fairly High For Others In The US

Hopefully the rest of United States will soon see a green energy revolution much like the one they're undergoing in New England!

Post Author: Andy Hart

─ Formerly Libertarian & now a Progressive Leftist; supports ending wars, rebuilding American lives and investing in public services. Activist. Lone Wolf. Not Great At Writing. Artist from California. Follow Me On Facebook
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