Most buildings in Clearwater were built during a time when electricity was cheap and abundant and less was known about the potential environmental impacts. Today, the effect of conventional energy sources on our global and local environments is better understood.
Electricity continues to be the biggest contributor to the citywide carbon footprint, with most of that electricity being used for the lighting, heating and cooling of buildings. Clearwater purchases all electricity from Duke Energy, a private utility company. As of 2017, Duke Energy relied on fossil fuels (i.e. coal and natural gas) to generate 61.7 percent of the electricity it produced. Nuclear energy accounted for 33.7 percent of the remaining electricity, while wind and solar accounted for 3.9 percent.
Making a positive impact on the city’s energy consumption is a community effort and will require the collaboration of residents, businesses and institutions. The Clearwater community can reduce energy use by implementing such measures as attic insulation, duct leak repair, replacing incandescent light bulbs with LED light bulbs, and upgrading air conditioning units, windows, and appliances to more efficient ones. In addition, it is also important to find opportunities for renewable energy.
- Since 2015, the city has converted more than 11,000 streetlights to LED bulbs. All traffic signals, including pedestrian signals, now use LED lighting.
- The city has made investments in energy-efficiency upgrades of its buildings and has been able to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy and operational costs. Through these upgrades, the city is expected to continue saving money, with an expectation that these upgrades could reach millions of dollars in continued savings over the next six years.
- Upon combustion, natural gas produces lower greenhouse gas emissions than electricity generated from non-renewable energy sources. Clearwater Gas System launched several programs to increase the number of residents and businesses that use natural gas to power appliances, such as water heaters and ranges. Clearwater Gas System will continue to offer these programs to provide natural gas as an alternative to standard electricity.