36 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE
BY ELISA WOOD, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
After a monster tornado wiped out Greensburg, Kansas
in 2007, killing 11 people, the community decided to
rebuild with meaning. It set out to become one of the
world’s greenest communities.
Today the town is among a growing number of jurisdictions that generates all of its electricity from renewable energy.
Greensburg achieved a goal that many see as pie-in-the-sky. Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore several
years ago drew jeers from his political critics when he
proposed that the U.S. go all green within a decade.
The jury remains out about the plausibility of a U.S.-size economy functioning with all renewables anytime soon. But Greensburg, with a population of less
than 1,000 people, has demonstrated that it can work
on a small scale. Others have done the same, among
them Güssing, Austria; King Island, Australia; and
It’s not just cities with the ambition. Eight nations
are 100 percent renewable or moving in that direc-
tion: Denmark, Iceland, Scotland, Costa Rica, Maldive
Islands, Cook Islands, Tuvalu, and Tokelau. Add 42 cit-
ies, 49 regions, 8 utilities and 21 organizations, and
going ‘all green’ looks like a bona fde trend.
Going All In
with Renewable Energy
Is the goal of using 100 percent renewable
energy crazy, idealistic or achievable?