NOLA to Entergy New Orleans: Go 100% Zero Emissions by 2050 or Face Penalties

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The New Orleans City Council has given Entergy an ultimatum: power the city’s homes and businesses with emission-free technologies by 2050 and go 100% carbon-free or face penalties. The city council backed its rules requiring Entergy New Orleans to go 100% carbon-free within three decades and 90% carbon-free in two decades, NOLA.com reported. This may seem far too slow to many CleanTechnica readers, but it is actually one of the quickest timelines approved in the South, or even the nation as whole, according to council officials.

Entergy will be permitted to use a variety of technologies to meet the council’s deadline. These technologies include solar power, wind power, nuclear power, and energy efficiency programs.

Entergy will also be required to show an annual progress report toward the 2050 target. If Entergy is unable to progress and if the council finds that it could have, the utility company could be penalized by the city council. In the case of a missed deadline due to factors Entergy has no control over (hurricanes are great examples here), the utility will have to make a separate payment to a fund that would support other clean energy projects.

How This Affects Customers

Energy bills will go up no more than 1% extra annually during the time Entergy implements the new technology. Afterward, their bills may go back to normal. The majority of the new, carbon-free power generation will not be online until 2032 under timelines provided by the city council. (Side note: renewable energy options are already cheaper than fossil fuel options, and it’s hard to imagine such a slow transition.)

Councilmember Helena Moreno shared her thoughts on the opportunity at hand. “This council as direct regulators of Entergy New Orleans has a unique opportunity to end the utility’s emissions on a timeline that is aggressive and attainable, yet affordable for the ratepayers,” she said. “We owe it to the people of this city to be bold. We can’t be complacent.”

The vote followed two years of the council analyzing the issue. During this time, a growing number of cities and states started adopting policies aimed at slowing down an estimated 2-degree Celsius rise in the global temperature that has been occurring since 1900.

An Entergy spokesperson told NOLA.com that the utility is looking forward to working with the council to meet the requirement. It plans to meet it by increasing its solar offerings, relying on its existing nuclear power, and instituting other projects. The article also gave a quick breakdown of the electricity generated in New Orleans at the moment.

  • Natural gas: 56%
  • Nuclear power: 34%
  • Power purchased from other regional utilities: 9%
  • Renewables: 1%

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