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The Atlanta City Council unanimously approved a pledge to commit the city to reaching 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. Municipal buildings must reach that goal by 2025. Atlanta is now the largest Southeastern city with a 100 percent clean energy goal, followed by St. Petersburg, Fla., according to Sierra Club. 

Atlanta Mayoral candidate and Council Member Kwanza Hall said the move to clean energy would benefit the environment while lowering residents’ utility bills and creating local jobs. The Department of Energy reported in January that projects in the energy sector accounted for more than two million construction jobs in 2016, or roughly one-third of the industry’s total employment. The energy-efficiency segment, in turn, made up nearly three-quarters of those jobs.

In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced more than 900 city-owned buildings will shift to all renewable energy by 2025 by increasing onsite generation and acquiring credits to purchase renewable power from utilities. Last year, city buildings used almost 1.8 billion kilowatt-hours of energy, representing about 8 percent of the city’s total use. While the change is expected to generate savings, initially it likely will add about 1 percent to the city’s power costs.

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