Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

City's 100 Percent Renewable Goal Is Not Realistic

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

City's 100 Percent Renewable Goal Is Not Realistic

Article excerpt

The May 23 article "City Aims to Cut Water, Energy Use Under Latest Climate Plan" cites Pittsburgh City Council's 8-0 vote to adopt plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, these plans target achieving 100 percent renewable energy and a vehicle fleet free of fossil fuel by 2030. Although politically attractive, this action caught my attention due to its lack of realism. That is, it's not possible.

Since Pittsburgh has no potential for hydropower or geothermal power, I assume that "renewable" energy refers to solar and wind power. Quoting Department of Energy data, we average 145 days a year with some sunshine, with an average maximum of 12 hours of daylight. That is, Pittsburgh could generate power from the sun no more than 20 percent of the time. Further, the DOE classifies Western Pennsylvania's wind power potential as "marginal," with an average wind speed of about 8 mph. …

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