Mayor Berger last week announced that Lima will be joining a growing group of local governments in Ohio that are participating in the Power a Clean Future Ohio (PCFO) campaign. Increasing renewable energy use, reducing energy waste, and expanding the community’s use of electric vehicles is a pathway toward local job growth and a healthier environment, and I am thrilled to see my hometown joining the campaign that I have had the privilege to help build with Ohio’s mayors and local communities.
Power a Clean Future Ohio is a non-partisan coalition that is dedicated to working with local communities and leaders to develop equitable clean energy solutions to benefit the well-being of residents, the environment, and the local economy. When a city joins the campaign, they get access to a unique set of resources and experts that are part of this coalition and ready to help the city plan for a more sustainable future.
This announcement isn’t a fleeting political commitment. This work is building a foundation for future economic growth. Businesses all across the country are looking to invest in communities that are embracing a clean energy transition. More business investment in the community means family-supporting jobs, better schools, and a stable future for Lima’s residents.
We know where the jobs of the future will be and communities that recognize and embrace it will benefit from the economic growth and stability in the long-run. Prior to the pandemic, the U.S. clean energy sector was projected to grow by 5.3% over the year, and, as we recover, we should expect this growth to continue. And, while it won’t happen overnight, Ohio’s communities, steeped in a history of manufacturing and innovation, are poised to lead in these fields with the right investments and partnerships.
Lima’s first step in their work with Power a Clean Future Ohio will be to complete a fully-funded fleet assessment conducted by one of our partner organizations, Clean Fuels Ohio. This analysis will provide the city with a planning tool and set of recommendations on how to transition the city’s fleet to include more electric vehicles and how to improve the efficiency of existing operations. City fleets often have a predictable service time and daily mileage, creating a perfect scenario to use an electric vehicle that has lower costs for both maintenance and fuel over the life of the vehicle.
As the city pursues a strategy around electric fleet vehicles, Power a Clean Future Ohio will look to engage in work with the community to grow the availability of public chargers and prepare the community for increased electric vehicles on the city’s streets and in driveways and parking lots around the community.
Our work to build a clean energy future doesn’t stop with electric vehicles. Investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions is also a critical piece of the puzzle. As the prices for renewable energy fall, local governments are seeing the incredible opportunity to invest in local projects that keep our tax dollars in our community, training local workers in emerging fields and saving the city money in the process.
A cleaner, more equitable, just, and sustainable energy industry serves us all. Reducing harmful emissions and growing clean energy jobs is one tangible way our leaders can ensure the next generation that calls Lima home gets to enjoy a vibrant, healthy community.
Joe Flarida is a graduate of Shawnee High School and executive director of Power a Clean Future Ohio