The Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) announced today that it would stop burning coal for power by 2027 and would get 92% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050.
The move away from coal by OUC is significant progress toward fulfilling the goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050 set by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and the Orlando City Council, thanks in large part to the leadership of the First 50 Coalition. Key to making good on this commitment will be whether OUC plans to burn fracked gas, another fossil fuel, in place of the coal and for how long. Mayor Dyer and the City Council have acknowledged the need to take bold action to help solve the growing climate crisis by moving away from all fossil fuels, not just coal. Methane, the primary ingredient in fracked gas, is a greenhouse gas 87 times more potent than carbon dioxide over its first 20 years in the atmosphere.
In response, Raquel Fernandez Makarov, Organizing Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign released the following statement:
“This is a momentous day for Orlando. A little over three years ago, Mayor Dyer and the Orlando City Council unanimously set the course for a 100% renewable energy Orlando and an end to the burning of dirty coal. We look forward to the next steps — working with OUC to eliminate the use of all fossil fuels, including fracked gas, and generating Orlando’s energy from clean, renewable sources while creating good, family-sustaining jobs for workers. At a time when so many headlines are about how the climate crisis is fueling record-breaking heat, health issues and hurricanes, OUC’s announcement is a rare bright spot, and worth celebrating.
“Thanks to Mayor Dyer, the Orlando City Council, OUC, and the tireless work of the First 50 Coalition, we now know when The City Beautiful will also become the city renewable.”