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City of Savannah Using GEM for an Equitable Clean Energy Transition

As of December 2021, The City of Savannah adopted the 100% Savannah Clean Energy Plan which provides a roadmap for meeting the community-wide clean energy targets they adopted in March of 2020. Recognizing the importance of a fast decarbonization of our economy, the City Council commits to 100% safe, clean, and renewable electricity by 2035 and 100% safe, clean, and renewable energy for all other uses (e.g. transportation, heating, and industry) by 2050. The equity data and analysis for these clean energy targets was done using GEM and other Greenlink Analytics methodologies.

Additionally, the City Council committed to using this transition as an opportunity to address historical inequities in the community across Savannah prioritizing a just and equitable clean energy transition. As the City invests in workforce training, renewable energy installations, energy efficiency programs, and clean transportation, priority will be shown to frontline, fence-line, low-income, and minority communities.

According to our analysis, Savannah used just over 2 million MWh of electricity in 2018. Under business-as-usual conditions, that is expected to increase slightly to 2.16 million MWh by 2035, due to population growth, economic development, and a modest trend toward using electricity instead of fuel.


The GEM platform has also already informed two grant applications for the City of Savannah:

The first grant application requested $3.5 million from Georgia’s State Fiscal Recovery Fund in the category for addressing the negative economic impacts of Covid-19. This proposed project is to complete pre-weatherization home repairs in homes in the 12 most energy burdened census tracts in Savannah. If the City receives this funding, their most energy burdened citizens will have access to the support they need to take advantage of free energy efficiency services through their utility provider.

The second grant application that GEM informed also requests funding from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund’s negative economic impact category. Unlike the first application, this one was written in coalition with the City of Atlanta and several environmental non-profits to support deployment of solar in low-income communities as part of the combined Savannah-Atlanta Solarize campaign. If approved, this funding will support job training in both solar and energy efficiency, fully or partially subsidized solar deployment, and critical pre-solarization repairs like roof replacements.

In addition to supporting future grant applications, GEM will play a crucial role in informing the City of Savannah’s investments and program implementation going forward.

“Per the Council resolution, we are deeply committed to ensuring that our clean energy transition redresses historical inequities, reduces energy burdens, and creates meaningful economic benefits for frontline communities. This work already has been and will continue to be made easier with the data provided by GEM.”

- Alicia Brown- Energy Analyst, Savannah Office of Sustainability

Image: Energy Burden and Key sourced from 100% Savannah Clean Energy Plan

For more information about this story contact Alicia Brown at Alicia.Brown@savannahga.gov