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Long A Coal Town, St. Louis Commits To 100% Renewable Energy

Long A Coal Town, St. Louis Commits To 100% Renewable Energy

St. Louis has become the latest in a long line of U.S. cities to officially commit to getting all of its electricity from non-carbon sources — solar, wind and other renewables.

The Board of Aldermen voted unanimously on the policy goal, which specifies 2035 as the target year, despite St. Louis' long-standing ties to the fossil fuel industry.

Among other companies, St. Louis is the hometown of Peabody Energy and Arch Coal, two of the country's largest coal producers.

The next step is for the city to assemble a group made up of environmentalists, business people, utility representatives, workers and others to develop plans for the transition, NBC reports. The plan is slated to be ready by December 2018.

"It's not fake,” St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed said, referring to global climate change. "So it's going to cause cities, including ours, to pick up the reins and make up for the shortfall of action by the federal government."

It is a tall order. Currently St. Louis gets about 95% of its power from fossil fuel and nuclear plants. 

Also, while the city might well devise a way for its own facilities to use renewable energy, it does not have the authority to force residents or private businesses down the same path. Even so, the vote — as in other cities — will put pressure on businesses to seek out renewable energy sources. 

Anheuser-Busch and Nestlé Purina, two major St. Louis employers, have already committed to powering their facilities with renewables.