Orlando Aims High With Emissions Cuts, Despite Uncertain Path

By 2025, Orlando’s utility plans to get 13 percent of its electricity from the sun, making it a leader in Florida—but it still has two large coal-burning plants

Solar panels in Orlando, Florida. Credit: Amy Green, WFME
Orlando has plans to ramp up solar power in the coming years, adding to these at a city-owned installation. Credit: Amy Green, WFME

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ORLANDO, Fla.—Environmentalists rejoiced when city commissioners voted unanimously to power every home and business here with 100 percent clean energy by 2050. Two and a half years later city leaders say they still aren’t sure how they are going to do it.


Caught off Guard


Land-locked Orlando is among fewer than a dozen local governments in the state that have focused on this flip side of the issue, emissions. Nationwide, nearly 150 local governments and seven states have made similar pledges to reach 100 percent clean energy by 2050, on par with what scientists say is necessary to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. 


“We’re still learning and doing a deep dive into exactly when do we retire some plants and what do we replace those plants with, and all of that still is very much being analyzed,” said Chris Castro, the city’s director of sustainability and resilience, told WMFE, as part of a regional collaboration with InsideClimate News called “Caught Off Guard: Southeast Struggles with Climate Change.”




This story was published as part of a collaborative project organized by InsideClimate News, involving nine newsrooms across seven states. The project was led by Louisville, Ky.-based James Bruggers of InsideClimate News, who leads the Southeast regional hub of ICN’s Environment Reporting Network.