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St. Louis making major clean energy improvements, nationwide report says


St. Louis is one of the most improved cities in America in terms of clean energy usage, according to a new nationwide report. 

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s (ACEEE) 2020 City Clean Energy Scorecard ranked St. Louis 28 out of 100 major U.S. cities for its green operations. The city placed 36 out of 75 in last year’s report.

“City budgets are under enormous strain,” said ACEEE Director of Local Policy David Ribeiro in a statement. “Clean energy policies are part of the solution because they create jobs while reducing energy costs for households, businesses, and city government. By keeping up and expanding clean energy efforts, cities can support the economic recovery while combating the climate crisis.” 

The scorecard said the city’s Building Energy Performance Standard Bill, adopted in April, was a substantial step in improving its ranking. St. Louis is the third city in the country to enact a building performance standard, according to the report.

The city’s solar-readiness program was also praised, as was its partnership with Ameren in planning a green tariff program for utilities. 

But despite improvements, St. Louis scored low on most of the criteria outlined in the report. 

The city ranked 2.5 out of 10 in local government operations; 7.5 out of 15 in community-wide initiatives; 17.5 out of 30 in buildings policy; 5.5 out of 15 in energy and water utilities; and 9 out of 30 in transportation policies — for an overall score of 42 out of 100. 

Still, the report showed considerable improvement over last year; St. Louis’ overall 2019 score was 31. 

ACEEE recommended St. Louis improve its renewable energy infrastructure, make improvements to its water and energy use efficiency, install further renewable energy systems in municipal buildings, and enhance its electric vehicle charging infrastructure. 

“Many cities are really seizing the moment and embracing policies that help them fight climate change, while too many others are, frankly, doing very little,” Ribeiro said. “We want to show all the cities, even the leaders, the further steps they can take to cut carbon emissions most effectively and equitably.”

Kansas City was also featured on the list, taking the No. 25 spot. The city scored above average in every category, achieving an overall score of 43.5. 

The report found Kansas City in a generally positive position, praising new bike paths and greenhouse gas reduction strategies while recommending an increased focus on its local government and transportation policies, such as improving freight efficiency and installing LED streetlights. 

ACEEE is a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. that focuses on state and national energy policies. It has released city scorecards every year since 2013.