Can A City Run On 100% Renewable Energy?

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In 2014 Burlington, Vermont became the first city in the United States to run on 100% Renewable Energy. But how do they actually do it? What’s their secret?

Thanks to Miguel Franco for helping to make this episode possible

Special Thanks To:
Neile Lunderville, Miro Weinberger, Mike Kanarick, Dave MacDonnell, Jon Clark and the Burlington Electric Department

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Music by:


Driftless Pony Club


Rob Scallon

Jason Shaw

24 thoughts on “Can A City Run On 100% Renewable Energy?

  1. This is all very cute but not scalable. Powering metropolitan Chicago using the biomass solution would entail cutting down 180 million trees per year. You simply cannot reforest on that scale, not to mention the cost of transporting millions of tons of wood chips into large urban power plants. BTW, were those gasoline powered trains and tractors I noticed in the video? To date, there are only 5 towns or small cities in America that are close to 100% powered by renewables: total population of these locations is less than 50,000 people. We should continue on a limited path to making energy extraction from renewables more efficient, but oil/gas/coal is the overwhelming choice for powering this nation into the 25th century.

  2. Sorry but cutting down the forests isn't green energy as it is with all the forests on fire these days you have to stop cutting down them or we will not have any oxygen or natural weather any more as the trees also play a bit part in the rains we get

  3. The average residential electricity rate in Vermont is 17.01¢/kWh, which ranks 5th in the U.S. They use less electricity which makes sense in that they are probly using kerosene during the winter, with its low population density, not to mention areas covered in water mesns it is average in pollution.

  4. For $96, avg electric bill in burlington, vt, the customers are subsidizing the electric company because The average residential electricity rate in Vermont is 17.01¢/kWh, which ranks 5th in the U.S.

  5. The question is why isnt Burlington, VT more green? ( What is the average electric bill compare to less than 109% cities?), its low population, low density with a greater metro area should, in my humble opinion, be returning money to its customers by selling green energy?

  6. So what is the cost per kilowatt in Burlington, Vermont?  The proposed micro-grids sound great on a residential level but try to do any real industrial work (welding, inductive heating, electric motor driven work) and your reactive load balancing becomes a real problem that your micro grid inverters can't handle.  Living with wind turbines is the dreamed rural bliss that is imagined by urban dwellers.  They are loud, blinking light behemoths that have spread visual and noise pollution across the country side.  We have sold our horizon, sunset, sunrise and night sky to the mess of big wind.

  7. Oil came from decades of compressed trees & plants under high pressure and temperature. But funny thing is they use carbon emission machines to transport and krunch into small pieces.

  8. If every house has solar, then there wouldn't be any need for non-renewable energy. Factories can get energy from excess power generated by all the homes and a battery bank per city would solve the energy needs during the night.
    Larger cities such as Beijing would have bigger power plants located throughout or outside the city. It will take a lot of time to get in place, but it will solve the issue

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