The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has named 22 cities of varying sizes to its 2010 Smarter Cities list for green power. And now I'm wondering why I ever moved away from Santa Cruz, Calif., which is one of the smaller cities on this latest ranking.
The NRDC said it used green energy as the criteria for this list because half of all the energy in the United States is still produced by coal, a dependence it would like the nation to wean itself off of, for various environmental and health reasons. Factors for list selection included aggregate kilowatt-hour power consumption, the top three fuel sources for a particular city, whether it had completed a greenhouse gas inventory, and what energy conservation programs are in place locally. Transportation was deliberately excluded from the inventory. An evaluation of this metric is planned for fall 2010.
Cities with populations of more than 50,000 were consulted for the planned list. In all, about 655 cities were contacted. NRDC also reached out specifically to the appropriate cities on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Green Communities list.