JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — On the heels of President Biden's announcement Wednesday that he will take new executive steps to combat climate change, First Coast News is taking a look at how much -- or how little -- Jacksonville's city utility is using renewable energy to provide electricity.
Like in many cities, local power plants are some of the biggest sources of greenhouse gasses, which are the emissions responsible for climate change.
Logan Cross is the Chair of the Sierra Club of Northeast Florida.
He said, "If you take out automobile emissions, really JEA is the primary source of greenhouse emissions in Duval County."
According to JEA, only two percent of the electricity it generates comes from renewable energy sources.
Most of the energy is produced by "a combination of fossil gas, coal, pet coke," UNF Biology Professor Adam Rosenblatt told First Coast News.
The Sierra Club of Northeast Florida is urging JEA to shift to more renewable energy sources, such as solar power and wind.
"We would like to see a commitment to be at least 30 percent renewable energy by the year 2030," Cross said.
That would mean swift changes at JEA in the matter of eight years.
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"One of the first steps is that we want them to decommission the Northside Generating Station before 2030," Cross noted.
It’s the plant on Heckscher Drive. It runs partially off coal.
Cross said, "Twelve other mid to large cities in Florida have made the commitment to be operating on 100 percent renewable energy by 2050."
He believes JEA should do the same.
JEA is in the process of creating its energy generation plan for the next three decades.
Karen McAllister, Media Relations Manager for JEA, gave a statement to First Coast News.
"JEA is embracing a brighter energy future. From solar power to biomass and methane gas, JEA is diversifying our electric generation to include a variety of renewable energy sources. JEA has reduced its carbon emissions by 53 percent since 2007 with the closing of St. Johns River Power Park in 2018 and the unit we co-owned at Plant Scherer in January 2022."
Rosenblatt from UNF said JEA is indeed increasing its solar capacity.
"They’re bringing on new solar farms. But the problem is it’s just not enough of it. And it's not happening fast enough."