By Kristin LaFratta
As mayors flock from around the country into Boston on Thursday for a new international climate summit, Mayor Marty Walsh is using the opportunity to push for a new renewable energy initiative.
Walsh announced plans for Boston to lead the way in identifying energy demand data across U.S. cities as a first step in creating large-scale renewable energy projects.
Major cities have already signed on to the initiative, including Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Orlando and Portland, Oregon. Walsh is using the climate summit at Boston University on Thursday to plead with more mayors to join the "coalition of cities" that will provide energy demand data.
Walsh announced the initiative plans to issue a formal Request for Information to ask renewable energy developers for price estimates on major city projects. The City of Boston plans to finalize a list of partnering cities and issue the request to renewable energy developers late in the summer.
The plan marks a sharp rejection of President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the international Paris Climate Agreement. That withdrawal was firmly opposed by Walsh, who explicitly pledged at the time to "uphold the tenets" of the Paris agreement and work with U.S. Mayors and cities around the world. Walsh serves as a co-chair on the Climate Mayors network, a group representing more than 400 cities.
In a statement ahead of the summit Thursday morning, Walsh said the new plan would "help power our cities and create more, clean energy jobs." The mayor believes investment in renewable energy could save money, reduce carbon emissions and create middle-class jobs.
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