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New Clean Energy Scorecard Ranks Jacksonville On Low End Of 100 US Cities

Downtown Jacksonville
Bill Bortzfield
Downtown Jacksonville

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy released its 2020 Clean Energy Scorecard for 100 U.S. cities Thursday, ranking Jacksonville toward the bottom, at No. 74.

The report ranked U.S. cities on their efforts to achieve a clean energy future by improving energy efficiency and scaling up renewable energy.

Cities were scored on community-wide initiatives, transportation policies and local government operations, among other factors. Here’s a breakdown of how Jacksonville scored:

Local government operations: 0.5 out of a possible score of 10. This category refers to cities that have set policies to increase efficiency in city government, procurement, and asset management.

Community-wide initiatives: 3 out of a possible score of 15. This refers greenhouse gas reduction goals and strategies to mitigate urban heat islands. The ranking also takes into account policies or programs to plan for distributed energy systems.

Building policies: 6 out of a possible score of 30. This ranking is based on cities that have adopted or advocated for stringent building energy codes; devoted resources to building code compliance; and used incentives, financing programs, or requirements to address energy consumption in large existing buildings.

Energy and water utilities: 3 out of a possible score of 15. This ranking examines energy efficiency programs of the utilities serving cities to achieve high levels of savings. According to the report, utilities and cities are working to increase their supply of and use of renewable energy. Ratepayers of water utilities have access to efficiency programs designed to save water and energy simultaneously.

Transportation policies: 6 out of a possible score of 30. Cities’ initiatives include location efficiency strategies, shifts to efficient modes of transportation, transit investments, efficient vehicles and vehicle infrastructure, freight system efficiency, and clean transportation for low-income communities.

Jacksonville total: 18.5 out of a possible score of 100

Jacksonville did improve by two points, compared to 2019, and moved up one spot in the nationwide rankings.

New York City received the nation’s highest ranking in the report, with a score of 77.5, which is a 10.5-point jump from 2019.

“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,” said David Ribeiro, director of ACEEE’s local policy program and the lead report author, in a news release.

Here’s how Jacksonville compared to other Florida cities ranked in the report:

  • Orlando: 21
  • Miami: 51 (tie)
  • St. Petersburg: 51 (tie)
  • Jacksonville: 74
  • Tampa: 75
  • Lakeland: 82
  • Cape Coral: 93

According to the study authors, the scorecard helps cities see what they’re doing well and also identifies gaps.
Although Jacksonville didn’t rank high in the 2020 Clean Energy Scorecard, a report released earlier this month showed the Jacksonville metropolitan area improved its 10-year median air quality by 18%, in line with a national trend toward cleaner air.

Credit American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), which authored the latest scorecard, describes itself as seeking to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments and behaviors. The nonprofit was founded in 1980 by energy researchers who were concerned about U.S.'s dependence on foreign oil.

ACEEE wants to see the U.S. cut its energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2050.

The full report is available to download on the group’s website.

- WUSF contributed to this report

Bill joined WJCT News in September of 2017 from The Florida Times-Union, where he served in a variety of multimedia journalism positions.