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Environment

Tampa, Lakeland Rank Low on Clean Energy Scorecard

Colorful graph comparing Tampa, St. Petersburg, Cape Coral and Orlando.
ACEEE's 2020 Clean Energy Scorecard.

The greater Tampa Bay region has room for improvement across the board, according to a national organization's 2020 City Clean Energy Scorecard.

In the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy's clean energy scorecard that was released Tuesday, Tampa and Lakeland fell near the bottom of the 100 U.S. cities that were ranked, while St. Petersburg was sandwiched in the middle.

The nonprofit council monitors cities for clean energy improvements through government operations, community initiatives, buildings, transportation and utilities.

Council spokesman Dave Ribeiro said Tampa's ranking at 75th out of 100 shows city leadership doesn't seem to be prioritizing clean energy.

"About 10 years ago, the city came out with a plan to increase energy efficiency and conservation, and it seems over time, those policies either didn't get into place, or there just hasn't been that level of momentum continuing,” he said.

Lakeland ranked 82nd on the list.

"They have some efforts to increase efficiency in buildings and transportation, they have some building incentives and complete streets policies,” Ribeiro said. “So these are these are things to build upon, and room to do more."

St. Petersburg led the greater Tampa Bay region with a ranking of 51st.

“They did well in our assessment of community-wide actions. And they did so because of a plan. They have the Integrated Sustainability Action Plan,” Ribeiro said.

“The most room for improvement comes from their building policies, so actions affecting their building sector. And sort of like Tampa, taking more intentional efforts to affect GHG emissions in existing buildings is a place they can do a bit more.”

The scorecard helps cities see what they're doing well, but it also identifies gaps.

"This is something that folks in the community can dig into and use some of our resources to understand what their city is doing and to advocate for some things that they might want to see," said Ribeiro.

The top spot went to New York City, which for years has been actively reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to Ribeiro.

The coronavirus pandemic may have affected local green initiatives, but Ribeiro said his group won't know the details until next year's report.

Here’s how all the Florida cities considered in this report placed:

Orlando – 21st
Miami – Tied for 51st
St. Petersburg– Tied for 51st
Jacksonville – 74th
Tampa – 75th
Lakeland – 82nd
Cape Coral – 93rd