Sept. 20, 2022
The Future Of Laramie: Carbon Neutral by 2050
By Jordan Freytag
This past June in 2022, Laramie, Wyoming saw a huge decrease in carbon emissions with the introduction of electric scooters. More than 14,000 rides have been taken since 150 electric scooters were introduced in late August 2021. More than 25,000 miles have been ridden, saving nearly 3 metric tons of carbon dioxide! This is just one example of how Laramie has worked to reduce its emissions since 2020.
In February 2020, the city of Laramie, Wyoming, unanimously voted to adopt a bill to become carbon neutral by 2050. It began in 2005 at the University of Wyoming where students formed the Campus Sustainability Committee to help the university to reduce its emissions. In 2019, UW became a part of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability, Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, which gave the university access to more sustainability resources, allowing these student-run initiatives to gain momentum, reaching the municipal level. Along with student initiatives, the Alliance for Renewable Energy of Laramie (ARE) has been a big influence on the decision to move toward carbon neutral solutions, requesting the development of such an initiative a few months prior.
Students at UW conducted an emissions analysis for most of Laramie in 2018, which would contribute to the data that would be the baseline that future emissions reports would be juxtaposed against. The 2018 greenhouse gasses report, completed in 2019, reported that 1/5 of Laramie’s emissions come from Public Works, waste generation and mobile combustion. The Environmental Action Committee (EAC) suggested a plan that “provides[s] a detailed roadmap of actions and budget toward net zero emissions and includes potential avenues for reducing emissions, developing renewable energy sources, and enhancing carbon sequestration opportunities” (2000). Considering this, a plan was developed that included transitioning municipal vehicles to an all-electric fleet, adding solar panels to all municipal buildings, and educating the community about these initiatives.
According to the City of Laramie Emission Reduction Management Plan, 50% of 2018 emissions levels will be reduced by 2030, followed by a 90% reduction by 2040, and finally becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
Of course with the onset of the pandemic, adjustments had to be made to fit Laramie’s needs. Those working to implement the plan were faced with some tough questions: Is this feasible? What sectors of Laramie do we target first? What about political contention? Even with these challenges, progress continued and Creative Energies was able to help. Since the unanimous vote, Creative Energies has installed solar systems for the Laramie Municipal Operations Center in 2021, the Laramie Recreation Center in 2020, the Laramie Ice and Event Center in 2020, and the Laramie Fire Department Station 3 to be completed in the Fall of 2022.
EAC member and President of ARE, Eric Krszjzaniek said, “I do hope that we start to see more communities understand that this is an apolitical action. It is not something that conservatives or liberals decide what to do. But it’s something that citizens realized–that it’s something that needs to be done.”