Columbus Clean Energy Resolution


for a Columbus City Council vote on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023


WHEREAS, there is a strong scientific consensus regarding the reality of climate change and the connection between anthropogenic factors that create greenhouse gases, and how it is affecting our community now, and how current projections show what future generations will experience; and 

WHEREAS, the combustion of fossil fuels, through direct emissions and through secondary climate change impacts, poses a threat to human and environmental health globally through increased air and water pollution, sea level rise, climate-driven extreme weather events, and accelerated loss of species and habitats; and 

WHEREAS, Columbus-Muscogee County is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change on residents, public infrastructure and the local economy, and the development of locally-generated renewable sources of energy will increase the resilience of Columbus-Muscogee County and reduce the impacts of power loss during natural disasters; and 

WHEREAS, Columbus has maintained a high poverty rate over the years, and black and brown communities and other economically disadvantaged people will experience the economic, environmental, health, and social harms of climate change disproportionately, and spend more of their income on energy than median households in our community; and 

WHEREAS, “Clean and renewable” energy pertains to energy sources that are less detrimental to the environment than fossil fuels, and the switch to clean energy sources will reduce air, water and land pollution and the associated impacts on public health and public spending; and 

WHEREAS, energy use is a holistic system, with conservation and transportation electrification being highly prioritized in order to guarantee that resources are optimized to their fullest potential during Columbus’ transition to 100% renewable energy; and 

WHEREAS, at both a national and local level, household income, home ownership status, race, and age are historically correlated with the likelihood that a household will spend more of its total income on energy expenses; therefore, it is imperative that we prioritize low-income, black, brown, and senior communities with policies and programs to decrease their energy burden through the adoption of sustainable and renewable technologies; and 

WHEREAS, the work from local utilities has increased energy efficiency and the amount of grid energy provided by renewable sources, which has led to Georgia being one of the leading states for the deployment of solar power; we further recognize the major role utility providers will play in transitioning our community to clean and renewable energy; and 

WHEREAS, the development of the renewable energy sector has already created 76,500 high-paying jobs in Georgia, with significant growth expected as less spending is used on out-of-state energy sources; and 

WHEREAS, non-traditional tools such as renewable energy certificates, community solar installations, solar energy procurement agreements, property-assessed clean energy loans, and virtual net metering are essential for Columbus to rapidly transition to 100% renewable status by 2035; and 

WHEREAS, youth and future generations will be impacted more significantly by climate disruption than those currently in positions of power. We must recognize that youth will inherit the effects of the bad decisions of the past, have the most to lose from a lack of action in the present, and will spend their lives leading the transition to a truly green and sustainable economy. 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City Manager is authorized to adopt and execute a vision and transition plan, 

Section 1: The C o l u m b u s C o n s o l I d a t e d G o v e r n m e n t will work toward obtaining 100% of its energy needs from clean and renewable energy sources produced on-or-for CCG Properties by 2035, and it will decrease the use of third-party renewable energy certificates to not more than 40% of its total energy portfolio by 2050; and 

Section 2: The Columbus Consolidated Government will work toward obtaining 100% of its electricity needs from clean and renewable sources by 2035, and all other energy needs will be met by 100% clean and renewable energy sources by 2050; the CCG will implement policies and programs and lead a comprehensive effort to support this transition; and 

Section 3: These efforts will work in a manner to redress historical inequities in our community by prioritizing resources to train and hire people from within marginalized communities to 

participate in the energy efficiency and renewable energy workforce, and by facilitating energy efficiency upgrades, opportunities for clean transportation, and renewable energy installations in low-income communities; and 

Section 4: The Columbus Consolidated Government commits itself to developing a clean energy action plan within 18 months of the adoption of this resolution, by inviting partnerships with utilities, institutional partners, industries, businesses, and individuals, as well as collaborating with surrounding communities in achieving aligned clean energy and equity goals; this body also commits to revisiting these goals and associated planning efforts as technologies, policies, and economic feasibility of these commitments change; and 

Introduced at a regular meeting of the Council of Columbus, Georgia held on the _________ day of _________ 2023 and adopted at said meeting by the affirmative vote of ten members of said Council. 

Councilor Allen voting ________. 

Councilor Barnes voting ________. 

Councilor Cogle voting _______. 

Councilor Crabb voting ________. 

Councilor Davis voting ________. 

Councilor Garrett voting ________. 

Councilor Huff voting ________. 

Councilor Thomas voting ________. 

Councilor Tucker voting ________. 

Councilor Woodson voting ________. 

______________________________ ________________________________ 

Sandra T. Davis, Clerk of Council B.H. “Skip” Henderson, III, Mayor