City Purchases Now Prioritize Low- and Zero-Emissions Vehicles
The City of Milwaukee Common Council voted to approve an updated ordinance requiring departments to purchase low- or zero-emission vehicles with the goal to replace City-owned or leased vehicles with those that operate with cleaner, sustainable alternative fuels. The policy supports the City’s efforts to increase the use of vehicles powered by clean energy sources and achieve its climate goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2030 and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.
The ordinance applies to the purchase of light-duty and off-road vehicles, as well as medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. When cost-effective, purchases will prioritize hybrid, electric, and alternative-fuel vehicles. The City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works, Police Department, Fire Department, and Port are directed to report annually on the progress of the transition. The police department is already in the practice of purchasing hybrid vehicles for its fleet. The City of Milwaukee Environmental Collaboration Office is also working with departments to plan for electric vehicle charging infrastructure in City buildings and for the community.
City County Task Force on Climate and Economic Equity Recommends 10 Big Ideas
After convening resident and expert working groups for two years, the City County Task Force on Climate and Economic Equity submitted its recommendations to the Common Council. ECO hired a consulting firm to take these recommendations and develop a formal Climate and Equity Plan to be adopted next year.
Port Milwaukee StewardSHIP Initiative Announced
Port Milwaukee launched the StewardSHIP initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from commercial shipping fleets. Qualifying vessels can receive a 10% discount on dockage charges. 14 vessels took part in the program in the first year.
City's Largest Solar Installation at 2.25 Megawatts Completed
In partnership with We Energies, a 9-acre, 7,200 solar panel array was built on a City-owned landfill next to General Mitchell International Airport. The project cost the City nothing to build and generates about $96,000 a year in revenue for the City to invest in additional climate action. The project also supports grid resiliency and emergency preparedness for the Air National Guard's 128th Air Refueling Wing.
City Departments Accelerated Transition to Lower Fuel Vehicles
The City of Milwaukee Police Department purchased 30 hybrid police vehicles and other City departments are adding electric and hybrid vehicles to their fleets.
City-County Task Force on Climate and Economic Equity Created
The task force has made recommendations on 10 Big Ideas to reduce emissions and reduce racial and income inequality by assuring that greenhouse gas reduction investments and policies will create the maximum number of permanent living wage green jobs for people who live in the most impoverished Milwaukee neighborhoods with limited economic opportunity. A formal plan is forthcoming.
Solar Installed at 3 City Libraries, Major Energy Efficiency Project Completed at Central Library
Installations included 710 solar panels on three Milwaukee Public Library locations—Central, Center Street, and Tippecanoe. These three projects, totaling 210 kilowatts, were originally part of a six building project that would have totaled 1 megawatt of solar; However, We Energies ultimately denied the request to interconnect some of the systems to the power grid based on the way they were financed.
The City also completed a $2 million energy efficiency retrofit at Central Library through an energy saving performance contract with Johnson Controls. The solar project and energy efficiency project combined yield a 20% energy savings at Central Library.
City of Milwaukee Green Infrastructure Plan Adopted
The Common Council adopted the City’s first Green Infrastructure Plan. Green infrastructure, which includes rain gardens, bioswales, green roofs, trees, etc., helps manage stormwater, reduce urban heat, and beautify the city.
We Energies Renewable Energy Pilot Programs Approved
Former Mayor Barrett and other local leaders asked We Energies to create new options for large customers to purchase renewable energy. Later that year, the Public Service Commission approved two new pilot programs for We Energies to supply renewable energy. The City utilized the Solar Now Program to for the solar landfill project, completed in 2021. The Environmental Collaboration Office is currently seeking improvements to the We Energies offerings with an eye toward meeting the 25% by 2025 goal.
Milwaukee Complete Streets Policy Adopted
Milwaukee passed a Complete Streets policy into law ensuring that streets are designed and operated to enable safe access for people of all ages and abilities, including people walking, biking, taking transit, and driving.
Milwaukee Better Buildings Challenge Launched for Commercial Buildings
Through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and many local partners, the City launched the comprehensive Better Buildings Challenge program to reduce energy use in commercial buildings. This voluntary program helped commercial buildings benchmark their energy use, provided free energy assessments to identify improvement opportunities, connected building owners with PACE financing, helped train and employ workers in partnership with MATC, and provided awards and recognition to leading participants. The program was recognized as a national model for outreach and communication.
PACE Financing Program Developed for Commercial Buildings
PACE Financing helps commercial property owners affordably finance energy or water efficiency, renewable energy, electric vehicle infrastructure, energy reliability, stormwater controls or "green infrastructure," and other resiliency upgrades in their buildings The program has financed over $38 million in energy efficiency projects, saving commercial building owners over $2 million annually. The PACE Financing program has been designated a National Implementation Model by the U.S. Department of Energy.
City Adopts the ReFresh Milwaukee Sustainability Plan
The City of Milwaukee adopted the comprehensive ReFresh Milwaukee Sustainability Plan detailing recommended sustainability actions in the areas of buildings, energy, water, land and urban eco-systems, food systems, human capital, resource recovery, and mobility.
100-Kilowatt Port Milwaukee Wind Turbine Installed
The wind turbine provides more than 100% of the Port Administration Building's electrical needs, allowing surplus clean power to be provided back to the power grid. The Port has avoided releasing over 1,025 metric tons of carbon dioxide into our air and is the first City of Milwaukee municipal facility that is a "net zero" electric energy user.
Milwaukee Energy Efficiency program, Me2, is Created
Me2 offers affordable loans and incentives to homeowners for energy efficiency upgrades. Homeowners who have had their home inspected, insulated, and air sealed through Me2 have averaged a 30% reduction in energy use. The program has helped 1,440 homes since its creation and won a Climate Protection Award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Milwaukee Shines, the City's Solar Program, is Created
Milwaukee Shines provides affordable financing and Solar Group Buy programs to residents. Milwaukee was one of the first 14 cities to win the Solsmart Gold Award for streamlining the process to get solar permits. The Solar Group Buy program has helped over 280 property owners install 1.3 megawatts of solar. 10.22 megawatts of solar energy have been installed on Milwaukee homes and businesses to date. The City's original goal of 1 megawatt of solar capacity has far been exceeded.