A Bright City in the Sunshine State

Babcock Ranch, an innovative development in rural southwest Florida, is poised to become the nation’s first city powered entirely by solar energy. Home construction is still ongoing, but upon completion, approximately 20,000 homes and 45,000 residents will receive their power from a 75 megawatt and 440 acre solar farm.

Babcock Ranch residents will enjoy amenities that characterize the everyday American town, as developers have already built an elementary school, coffee shop, clothing store, and ice cream parlor.

However, cutting edge technology sets Babcock Ranch apart. The city’s transportation network will largely rely on self-driving, solar powered taxis. Big plans are in store for the power system as well; developers intend to implement an advanced battery system that stores energy during the day and distributes it to the grid during times of lower productivity and higher demand.

These innovative systems will increase efficiency, reduce consumer energy costs, and shrink the community’s carbon footprint all at the same time. Babcock Ranch is one of many examples that demonstrate the power of innovation and technology to foster economic and environmental benefits simultaneously.  

Babcock Ranch combines its emphasis on technology with a commitment to conservation. In 2006, when Syd Kitson purchased the land that encompassed Babcock Preserve – a whopping 91,000 acres – he immediately sold 80 percent of it back to the state for preservation purposes.

Similarly to how corporations are taking the lead, individuals in Babcock Ranch are acting on their own to improve the environment. Markets driven by individuals, not mandates enforced by the government, are best suited to provide mutual benefits to the environment and economy.  

Individuals are placing more and more emphasis on stewardship, which in turn contributes to expansions in the rapidly growing marketplace of efficient and environmentally friendly ideas. With these attitude shifts, we should expect to see more sustainable communities like Babcock Ranch develop all across the country. Instead of relying on hasty government mandates, we should empower individuals, like the developers of Babcock Ranch, to make decisions that benefit themselves, the environment, and the economy.

Ronnie Thompson