Clean Energy Future
Clean and renewable energy options such as wind and solar, if supported today and coupled with concerted energy efficiency programs, could not only totally power every state in our watershed by the year 2050, but could put us on the leading edge of the clean energy industry. This would allow us to protect our natural resources including healthy water, clean air and vibrant natural resources, and also allow us to keep jobs in our region for generations to come as we build the technologies needed to support ourselves, our nation and countries across the world who will all be turning to clean energy and efficiency technologies with increasing investment and focus in the years, decades and generations to come.
Delaware Riverkeeper Network is working hard to help make the case that a clean energy future is achievable now - we have the technology, we just need the political will and public support.
Delaware Riverkeeper Network serves on the steering committee as a founding member of Green Justice Philly, a coalition of organizations in the Philadelphia Region. The mission of Green Justice Philly, formed in 2015, is:
Green Justice Philly is a diverse and growing coalition committed to building a healthy, sustainable and economically just Philadelphia region. We work together to oppose the dirty fossil fuel industry that puts our neighborhoods at risk, makes our citizens sick, and does not contribute to our long-term prosperity.
Campaigns have included opposition to the development of fossil fuel projects at Southport, a private-public development site owned by the City of Philadelphia on the Delaware River and robust support instead of union and family-supported jobs. This Green Justice Philly campaign of a labor-environmental-community coalition led to the successful cancellation of a RFP for fossil fuel-related projects, including possible crude by rail facility or an oil/shale gas export terminal, and resulted instead in additional union-supported jobs at Southport and the greening of the Philadelphia Port with State funding.
Green Justice Philly is waging a campaign for clean, renewable energy in the City from locally generated solar; the Solar Justice Philly campaign. The Solar Justice Philly campaign calls for a commitment by the City of Philadelphia to provide 100% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, generating at least 30% of the electricity used in government-owned buildings, departments and street lights from solar projects in the five county region, including installations on City-owned buildings and property and on properties in under-resourced neighborhoods.
In 2018, the Green Justice Philly’s Solar Justice Campaign became more focused on the goal of implementing the City’s renewable energy goals through specific actions by city government. In April, a letter signed by 11 Philadelphia-based organizations was submitted to the Philadelphia Office of Sustainability outlining actions that should be taken in the coming months, including solar energy projects generated on City-owned infrastructure such as buildings, street lights and bridges. These installations would spur new jobs for city residents and help generate new wealth for the City’s neighborhoods in the form of green jobs. See the letter. The letter was followed by petitions launched by groups and on-line platforms that are being submitted to Mayor Kenney and City Council members to support the local solar campaign. See a sample petition below.
The concept is that Philadelphia’s transition to a renewable economy has the potential to improve regional air quality and curb climate change while spurring long-term economic development and jobs for the City’s residents. Since Mayor Kenney has set a goal of purchasing 100% of the electricity the city government uses from renewable sources by 2030, Green Justice Philly has recommended a number of initial actions to advance one specific strategy from the City’s published document on its energy vision – the purchase of long-term contracts for renewable energy called power purchase agreements (PPA). Green Justice Philly’s letter calls for the Mayor to issue a new PPA that would require the generation of solar energy locally on city infrastructure, to enlist other large city institutions to go solar, and to ensure that the new jobs will go to Philadelphia residents, with a commitment to ensuring the workforce reflects the racial demographics of the city as closely as possible and are under union conditions.
In August, Green Justice Philly and the Carnival de Resistance will be hosting a parade and rally to bring attention to and get people engaged with these issues. Partnering with organizations and residents from across the Philadelphia region, people will march for the use of renewable and clean energy sources; an end to power generation using fossil fuels, including fracked gas; and support for locally generated solar energy. The parade will start at PECO’s Headquarters to articulate EQAT’s demand of locally produced solar by PECO, stop at SEPTA Headquarters to demand their planned Nicetown fracked gas power plant is cancelled and end with a rally at City Hall so Mayor Kenny and City Council will hear the community’s demands. See more about the day here.
Green Justice Philly Member Organizations:
350 Philly, Action United, Be the Change Philadelphia, Clean Air Council, Clean Water Action, CCP Coalition for a Sustainable Future, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Farm to City, Fossil Free Drexel, EDGE Philly, Exact Solar, Food & Water Watch, Keystone Catholics, Maypop Collective, Mom’s Clean Air Force, Neighborhood Networks of Philadelphia, North of Washington Ave Coalition (NOWAC), Pennsylvania Federation BMWED-Teamsters, Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light, Philadelphia Chapter, Philly Electric Wheels, Protecting Our Waters, PSR-Philadelphia, The Shalom Center