September 2, 2020

City of Chicago Announces $200 Million RFP For Renewable Energy Supplier for All City-Owned Buildings

New contract will support City’s commitment to ensure all City-owned buildings and operations are powered by 100% renewable energy by 2025

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO— Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, in partnership with the Chicago Department of Assets, Information and Services (AIS), today announced a new Request for Proposals (RFP) to procure a renewable energy supply contract for City-owned buildings. Through the procurement of a renewable energy supply contract, the City aims to stabilize municipal energy costs, stimulate the local green economy, create high-quality green jobs, improve air quality and environmental impacts across the region, and reinforce Chicago’s commitment to addressing climate change. 

“Chicago is at the forefront of large cities leading the way to mitigate climate change, and a shift to renewable energy for the City is another exemplary step in our efforts,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “It is crucial for local municipalities to take their own measures in combatting climate change especially at a time when the federal government chooses to ignore the very real impacts it causes.” 

The contract will provide all City-owned buildings, streetlights and other facilities with reliable, renewable electricity supply for at least five years beginning in 2022. The current cost of powering just City-owned buildings with energy is around $40 million annually, resulting in an estimated renewable electricity supply contract of $200 million for the vendor. The solicitation of a renewable energy supply contract is another step forward in the City’s commitment to ensure all City-owned buildings and operations are powered by 100% renewable energy by 2025. Additionally, the contract will lead to the creation of new renewable generation facilities in the region, leading to job creation and air quality benefits, and supplying the City at least 50% of its electricity supply by 2025.  

“The City is looking forward to securing a renewable energy supplier that will help Chicago achieve its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2025,” said AIS Commissioner David Reynolds. “It is especially important for the City to give a boost to the local green economy, create green jobs and expand renewable energy infrastructure in all of our communities.” 

As part of additional efforts to reach the City’s 2025 commitments, AIS has purchased 95,000 Green-e Certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from Midwestern wind farms – a critical step in helping the City transition all municipal buildings to renewable energy sources within the next five years. The initial REC purchase secures a renewable energy supply for several of Chicago’s most iconic municipal buildings including City Hall, the Chicago Cultural Center and Harold Washington Library for all of 2019 electricity use. The purchase covers nearly 180 facilities citywide including many neighborhood buildings such as libraries and fire stations.  

“Chicago is taking an important step towards reaching its 100% renewable energy commitment,” said Kyra Woods, Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Chicago Coordinator. “Last year, Sierra Club stood with partners of the Ready for 100 Chicago Collective to call for a bold and principled energy commitment that addresses local climate, economic, and health burdens across our city. With strong follow through, policies like this can help anchor our city’s energy transition in local benefits such as career and business development, as well as affordable clean energy options for residents.” 

Once a new contract is established, the City anticipates providing other municipal entities, including sister agencies, with the ability to execute their own contracts with the City’s selected provider using the commercial framework established by the City’s RFP process. The renewable energy supply RFP will be live on on Friday, September 4, 2020. Applications are due by November 6, 2020, and the City plans to announce the chosen vendor for this contract in January 2021. 

Lastly, Chicago is one of 25 cities selected to participate in the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge, an effort that helps cities take strong action to reduce pollution that contributes to climate change and impacts public health. As part of the Climate Challenge, Chicago has pledged to taking bold actions to reduce emissions from its building and transportation sectors. This includes pursuing strategies to equitably achieve Chicago’s climate goals, including its 100% renewable energy commitments for municipal buildings by 2025 and communitywide by 2035.