CINCINNATI — “Spread across a number of hills and bluffs overlooking the Ohio River, Cincinnati, the ‘Queen of the West’ — an epithet from its early years acknowledging its commanding growth and enterprise — long has been partial to electricity produced from coal. For decades, the conservative city on Ohio’s southern border with Kentucky has been powered almost exclusively by giant plants along the river. From Cincinnati Gas & Electric to Cinergy to Duke Energy Ohio, utilities have kept the electrons coming, helping to keep the lights on for some 300,000 Cincinnatians. Coal currently fuels an estimated 85% of the city’s electric generation. But no more. On Wednesday, City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. made a decision that could reverberate through the region. This summer, Cincinnati will become the first major city in the US to supply 100% “green” power to eligible residential and small business customers. . . .
In November, Cincinnati easily passed a referendum authorizing the city government to pool its power purchases in a bid to cut energy costs. In February, the city issued a request for proposals seeking both conventional and renewable energy [to supply nearly 1 million megawatt-hours annually]. Environmental advocacy groups such as Ohio Citizen Action, with headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio, lobbied the city to move away from coal and in the direction of green, sustainable energy. Dohoney said he began his decision-making process ‘with no pre-determined outcomes in mind. This process provided the opportunity to promote renewable energy, and places Cincinnati as a national leader, at the forefront of green energy in this country. That is where we want Cincinnati to be.’
Rachel Belz, Ohio Citizen Action’s coal program coordinator and a Cincinnati resident, called the green power decision ‘very exciting. Obviously, the fact that it’s 100 percent renewable energy through renewable energy credits is exactly what we were looking for.’”
— Bob Matyi, Platts Electric Utility Week, April 30, 2012, subscription only, no full text