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Looking for green power? 22 cities you should consider

Aggregate electricity usage and the community's top three fuel sources were two major criteria in the list selection.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

What do Columbus, Ohio, and Santa Cruz, Calif., have in common?

They are among the 22 cities recognized on the Natural Resources Defense Council's 2010 Smarter Cities list for green power communities.

The NRDC consulted cities with populations of more than 50,000 for the list; in all, 655 cities were evaluated. The NRDC also reached out specifically to the appropriate cities on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Green Communities list.

The NRDC used green energy as the most important criteria for a "smart city," 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 weighed by the council included aggregate kilowatt-hour power consumption, the city's top three fuel sources, whether it had completed a greenhouse gas inventory and what energy conservation programs are underway at the local level.

Here's the list:

Large cities (population more than 250,000)

  • Austin, Texas
  • Boston, Mass.
  • Chicago, Il..
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Dallas, Texas
  • El Paso, Texas
  • Long Beach, Calif.
  • New York, N.Y.
  • Oakland, Calif.
  • Portland, Ore.
  • San Francisco, Calif.
  • Seattle, Wash.

Medium-sized cities (pop. between 100,00 and 249,999)

  • Berkeley, Calif.
  • Fort Collins, Colo.
  • Huntington Beach, Calif.
  • Reno, Nevada
  • Santa Clarita, Calif.
  • Springfield, Ill.

Small cities (pop. less than 100,000)

  • Beaverton, Ore.
  • Denton, Texas
  • Dubuque, Iowa
  • Santa Cruz, Calif.

One note: transportation was deliberately excluded from the inventory; an evaluation of this metric is planned for fall 2010.

Photo: Portland, Ore. city skyline

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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