Hey Reddit, Atlanta has announced a goal to have 100% clean energy by 2035. I'm an environmental scientist living in Atlanta, GA. I have submitted proof to the mods as I must keep my company affiliations anonymous.

My work encompasses renewable energies, handling the growing issues of our landfills, and water quality. We live in a world that is allowing asbestos back into the trade industry and a ruler that broke ties on working to combat greenhouse emissions.

After Trump broke ties with the Paris Agreement, the city of Atlanta responded by being the biggest southern city to commit to 100% clean energy. The financial and legal complexities of this goal are astronomical. I'm here to honestly answer your questions as we hope to make this goal a reality. AMA!

Link to Atlanta's 2035 goal: https://content.sierraclub.org/press-releases/2017/05/atlanta-commits-100-renewable-energy-2035

*Proof submitted to mods AMA to begin 7:45 ET (8/8/2018)

Edit: Wow this blew up overnight! Excited for everyone's interest and involvement. I have meetings most of the day, but I will try to answer as many questions as I can get to. Keep them coming!

Edit 2: I've been asked a lot of questions about making it in this career field, so I'll just put a little comment in up here. My best advice to you all is to get certifications in whatever area of environmental science you are interested in working in. If it's wetlands, WPIT. If it's hazardous materials, CHMM. Also, consider getting a graduate degree. A master's degree with a certification or two will really help you stand out. It's a rewarding field to be in.

Edit 3: Alright guys, thanks for all the questions but it's time to sign off. Hopefully this AMA not only spread the word for our 2035 goal but also made an individual impact in encouraging environmental consciousness. Thanks Reddit!

Comments: 631 • Responses: 7  • Date: 

WichitaLineman301 karma

Atlanta has poor mass transit. Will the plan address congestion that is systemic in the city?

Additionally, is the airport included in the plan?

irie_day296 karma

The airport currently accounts for 50% of the city's energy consumption. The plan is for it to be included with the goal of implementing solar panels and renewable energy credits.

Currently mass transit is a terrible issue here. This more of a legal and political battle than an energy one. We are hopeful for MARTA expansion to develop with the 2035 plan.

yes_its_him190 karma

Can you clarify? You said "energy" but the report says this is just electricity, which is a much easier goal to achieve.


irie_day54 karma

In the proposal, clean electricity is the main priority- but we’re not stopping there. Currently, the RFF (renewable fuels facility) at the Dekalb Landfill converts methane from decomposing trash to create clean natural gas. This facility is powering modified city vehicles and thousands of homes in the area. While electricity is our priority, we believe fuel consumption can be minimized through our own waste. One man’s trash is another man’s fuel.

wyndik48 karma

Hi! Atlanta resident here! I am curious if efforts toward this goal will be funded by private organizations and groups like those listed at the bottom or if any of this will be coming out of tax dollars? Is there a place where individuals can specifically give money to help push forward with this goal? Also will there be or has there been any change to this plan now that Mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms is in office?

irie_day7 karma

It will be a collective effort from both tax investments in the form of renewable energy credits and private companies. At the genesis of this thing, I would recommend writing local officials in the encouragement of amending legislation to get more private companies involved. Currently the electric monopoly of Georgia Power is a huge issue in moving forward.

Mayor Keisha had not proposed any changes yet. The interactions of those involved with her have been pleasant and she seems highly in favor of renovation and energy innovation. So far, I trust her to continue pushing this effort.

high_side41 karma

Is this a joint effort with other cities or are you leading the pack?

Also can you call it "Going Clean in the Dirty Dirty"?

irie_day28 karma

It's a joint response to decisions being made in from our ruling powers; however, each city is functioning independently.

I think you know the answer to the second question

elerdha21 karma

I live in europe so i dont know anything about America or Atlanta in any way, but is nuclear energy considerd green or not in America ?

irie_day36 karma

That question depends on which scientist you ask. Atlanta currently does not plan on implementing nuclear energy to meet the 2035 goal.

im_in_hiding6 karma

I live in Atlanta, at completion of this do you suspect my power bills will be higher, lower, or the same?

irie_day4 karma

This answer will be determined by how the legislation changes pan out. Ideally, it would be lower through solar installation. Currently though, Georgia Power has the electricity monopoly. These big companies may be hesitant to jump on board with changes that could result in them losing money. Hopefully, legislation will allow private companies to join the electricity market- leading to saving the consumer money.

TheLittlestTiefling6 karma

How feasible do you think this is in practice? Will there be/was there community involvement (i.e. Was it the govt that decided this or was it voted on)? What will be the biggest challenge of getting this to work? Thanks for your time!

irie_day13 karma

1) It's going to be extremely difficult, but this isn't impossible. The technology to make this happen is already here, but 2) the difficulty is in getting laws changed or the key companies on board. For instance, Georgia Power has a monopoly on the city's services. To get businesses to exist off clean energy, Georgia Power must either improve to make this provision readily available OR changes in legislation to allow private companies to step in.