Fayetteville and Los Angeles mayors win top climate protection awards

Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan

Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan was one of two mayors to receive top honors for climate protection efforts at this year’s U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Jordan joined Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in receiving a Climate Protection Award, which recognizes successful and innovative energy and climate protection efforts.

Jordan received the small city award (under 100,000 population) for Fayetteville’s Wastewater Solar Power and Storage Project. Garcetti received the award in the large city category for the Climate Mayors Electric Vehicle Purchasing Collaborative- a platform that helps American municipalities rapidly electrify their municipal fleets by leveraging the collective buying power of cities to lower costs of procurement.

The Fayetteville project is a collaboration with Ozarks Electric Cooperative and Today’s Power, Inc. Constructed on the city’s two wastewater treatment facility properties, the project features 87 acres of sun-tracking solar photovoltaic panels and on-site battery storage. The capacity of the system totals 10 megawatts of solar power generation and 24 megawatt-hours of battery storage. The system is expected to produce more than 18 million kilowatt hours of clean energy each year and offset 100 percent of the electricity consumed at the wastewater treatment facility properties, which are the city’s largest electricity-consuming accounts. On-site batteries allow Ozarks Electric Cooperative to draw from stored solar electricity instead of purchasing it from the grid.

Fayetteville Sustainability Director Peter Nierengarten called the project a “win-win-win” for the three partners.

“It also showcases how the ambitious energy policy goals in Fayetteville’s Energy Action Plan can send market signals, help inspire partnerships, and drive action,” Nierengarten said.

The project should raise clean energy consumption by city facilities from 16 percent to 72 percent and is expected to reduce the city’s carbon footprint by 10,245 metric tons of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions annually. The project will save the city approximately $6 million over 20 years, and Fayetteville will see a 3.9-year return on its initial $717,000 investment of onsite electrical upgrades.

“Climate change is affecting cities around the world,” said Jordan. “The City of Fayetteville is committed to honoring goals of the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Climate Agreement, starting right here in our own community. We want to lead by example for our residents, students, businesses, and utility partners—showing the nation that supporting low-carbon initiatives not only promotes renewable energy and efficiency—it also creates opportunities for good jobs and investments in the Northwest Arkansas region. Fayetteville’s Wastewater Solar Power and Storage Project demonstrates our commitment.”

First Place Award Winner – Small City

First Place Award Winner – Large City