When one thinks of Las Vegas, rarely do they consider its low carbon footprint. Rather, gambling, late-night parties, and The Hangover come to mind. However, the reputation of ‘Sin City’ is changing. That’s because as of December 12, 2016, Las Vegan achieved its goal to run entirely on renewable energy.
PopularMechanics reports that the city has been working toward the goal for nearly a decade and was able to achieve the grandiose feat by launching Boulder Solar 1, a 100-megawatt solar panel plant located near Boulder City. In addition to powering Las Vegas, Boulder Solar 1 directs energy to on-site facilities with tree-shaped solar panels in the City Hall plaza, solar shade canopies at city parks, and an array of solar panels installed on roofs at the wastewater treatment plant.
Only in 2008 did the city begin its renewable energy project. Sustainability programs encouraged residents and companies to reduce their electricity usage, and solar panels were installed on buildings within the city. To ensure the city can continue to run on green energy, it will start receiving power from Hoover Dam beginning at the end of 2017 – a first in history.
For those who don’t think sustainable initiatives are affordable, check the figures. Review Journal relays that the city will save approximately $5 million each year, as the sustainable initiatives have caused the city of Las Vegas to reduce electricity usage by 30%. According to Mayor Carolyn Goodman, the city is now a “world leader in sustainability.”
Before Las Vegas became the largest U.S. city to be powered entirely by renewable energy, the city of Burlington, Vermont, claimed the title in 2014. Considering solar is becoming more and more affordable, other cities might soon challenge the desert city for the prestige. At least, activists can hope.
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