The City of Orlando has a strong reputation for its city-wide achievements in sustainability and resilience. Over the last decade, the Green Works Orlando initiative has revolutionised the city by adding a sustainability chapter to the local municipal code. The implementation of sustainability policies and plans has made the city a leader in developing environmentally friendly communities.
In 2020, the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) began developing its Electric Integrated Resource Plan, with the aim of becoming carbon neutral by 2050 (with interim CO2 emission reduction targets of 50% by 2030 and 75% by 2040). The plan also acts as a pillar to achieve the mayor’s ambitious goal of 100% renewable electricity generationi in the city by 2050. It supports the phase-out of coal by 2027 and provides a roadmap to diversify the city’s existing electricity mix. Although solar PV will remain the main source of new energy, Orlando will invest in energy storage and other related technologies to ensure reliability and resilience.
The OUC has a major role in making solar energy affordable and accessible in the city and has found innovative ways to harness power from the sun. In 2017, it established long-term power purchase agreements to buy power from the 12.6 megawatt (MW) Kenneth P. Ksionek Community Solar Farm, the first in the country to include a solar PV array that sits atop a by-product landfill. In 2020, the OUC backed the construction of two new solar PV farms – the Harmony Solar Energy Center in St. Cloud and the Taylor Creek Solar Energy Center in east Orange Countyii, together capable of powering 30,000 homes – and started purchasing power from them.
Orlando also is home to more than 1 MW peak of floating solar PV and has been a pioneer in this new application since 2017. The OUC will to continue to study the performance and scalability of floating solar PV in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory thanks to a USD 1 million grant from the US Department of Energy. In 2020, the City of Orlando unveiled the new “floatovoltaics” at its international airport, showcasing this unique solar application. The local government has installed several “solar sculptures” and “solar trees” in the city to generate electricity and educate customers on the benefits of solar power.
Source: See endnote 5 in the Urban Policy Landscape chapter.
iAccording to the CDP-ICLEI Unified Reporting System, the share of renewables in electricity generation in Orlando was 2% (no date specified).i
iiThese are two of five projects being developed in the context of the Florida Municipal Solar Project, a partnership between the Florida Municipal Power Agency and 16 Florida public power utilities, including the OUC.ii