Can A City Run On 100% Renewable Energy? The Last Time the Globe Warmed 4 weeks ago   14:29

The Good Stuff
In 2014 Burlington, Vermont became the first city in the United States to run on 100% Renewable Energy. But how do they actually do it? What’s their secret?

Thanks to Miguel Franco for helping to make this episode possible

Special Thanks To:
Neile Lunderville, Miro Weinberger, Mike Kanarick, Dave MacDonnell, Jon Clark and the Burlington Electric Department

►Let us know what you think of our show!:
►Support us on Patreon:
►Follow us on Twitter:
►Follow us on instagram: goodstuffshow
►Like us on facebook:

Digital street team:
Sign up for our mailing list:

The Good Stuff is a proud member of the PBS Digital Studios family

Music by:


Driftless Pony Club


Rob Scallon

Jason Shaw

Comments 1037 Comments

All for renewable energy and making the world a cleaner place. But dam Vermont's largest city only has 40,000 people. In Ohio that's like a suburb.
Baggie195 LGN_
Why is this even a question, the answer is obviously YES
Bruciare biomasse, come ogni altra cosa inquina!
Se è la tua maggiore fonte green, non sei green.
Imparate dall'Europa. 🇪🇺
Not convinced, still biomass produces carbon, so I won't say it's green.
unfortunately, biomass is only available for certain cities you couldn't do it in places like nevada and solar just wont cute at least not without government subsidies and wont generate enough power also in terms of long term I don't think it can be sustainable
Fake news. There is a cost associated with transporting the wood chips to the plant and the ash . Typical left liberal democrat bs. What we need is bigger nuclear plants.
sam guapo
It's 2018. Solar alone with batteries can handle the entire city. The justification of the guy on how they offset pollution is kinda weak but they are doing a much better job than the rest of the USA.
Burnie Sanders
mmr Blmbngn
I see many old guys here and fossil fuel fanboys who lived in a time where they're killing the future of they're children and grandchildren, with so many arguments about renewable energy's underdeveloped technologies short term drawbacks. If only more research and money is put on by your war mongering government then it would be very possible that renewable energy will be efficient and economically viable in a short span of time. No offense grannies but your fossil fuel generation is up, you might as well just rest in peaces.
Burning wood is not green.
Jeffrey Black
Also, biomass is effectively just indirect solar. Has anyone done the math on how much power you would get if you just wiped out the forest and put a solar power plant there instead?
Jeffrey Black
Power doesn't magically scale like that.
You can't have every block be its own grid. Basically the only power you can do that with is solar. For hydro you would need each block to have a waterfall. For wind you have the downwind blocks get less and less power until they have basically none. For biomass each one needs its own forest. So solar would be the only option for that.
If you ignore the fact that Chicago isn't on the equator, then the sunlight reaching the surface has an flux of roughly 1 kW /m^2. However, not all of that is usable with solar power. A large portion is too low in energy, and some is too high in energy to be used efficiently. If you be generous and say the solar cell gets 20% of the power, that is down to 200 W/m^2. If you consider the height of their buildings and how many people live/work in them, that is nowhere near enough; especially when you remember that it isn't always mid-day and they aren't on the equator, meaning over the course of a day that power will vary from significantly less than 200 W/m^2 all the way down to 0.

For any large city the only solution for renewable energy is to have large centralised systems which distribute power to large areas.
Burlington's mayor sounds a bit like Ben Shapiro.
irsat ihsan
Absolutely amazing system! Maybe dropping woods and go for rooftop PV system with battery should be the next step. 👍
Matthew Holevinski
So... You could put in 1 itty bitty teeny tiny nuclear reactor, power the whole city for a zillion years, and not have to mass produce any windmills, toxic solar panels, collect transport and burn stuff and all of your power would come from essentially rock also no fish elevation required. well done
Nuclear is the future. We just need to use more of the same fuel for longer.
Hey Murica, it seems not everything is going down over in your country!
Rebekah Legion Journals
Kind of completely defeats the object by chopping down almost an entire 660,000 Trees every year to fuel the energy don't You think? Chopping down trees to fuel a town doesn't equal green does it? Why not completely replace the Bio mass with solar or hydro & Wind. Also, it can be done because there's already thousands of Earth Ship Towns, Tiny House Communities & Underground, Earth bag, dome Home & other sustainable communities who are relying entirely on Solar, Wind & Hydro energy as well as independently using small wood stoves with sustainable wood and/or propane. If People used propane as well as electricity to evenly distribute what They're using, their usage would be a lot more energy efficient. The power plant are telling them that They can't go entirely hydro or wind or solar despite the fact entire communities already are doing it & have been for decades & I think the key here is that the power plant still need to make money & want People to stay on grid. We can all live off grid. We don't have to use the main grid.
Tyler Whieler
if solar panels were transparant..... coudn't u just stack them ?
Sonya Davidson
a technology limited to sun 8 hours running 24 not possible without storage. 66% short
Add Reply

The Last Time the Globe Warmed Can A City Run On 100% Renewable Energy? 4 weeks ago   10:54

Try CuriosityStream today:

Imagine an enormous, lush rainforest teeming with the Arctic. Well there was a time -- and not too long ago -- when the world warmed more than any human has ever seen. (So far)

Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios:

Special thanks to Nobumichi Tamura for allowing us to use his work:

Want to follow Eons elsewhere on the internet?
Facebook -
Twitter -
Instagram -


Related Videos