We've heard about ecocities in far away lands, but now there's one planned for the Unities States. Located near Fort Meyers, Florida, Babcock Ranch will be powered entirely by solar power. It's a bold and progressive plan, and if Kitson & Partners can secure all the necessary regulatory approvals, construction will begin this year. The city includes a 75-megawatt, on-site, photovoltaic facility constructed by Florida Power & Light for nearly $350 million.
The 17,000-acre City of Babcock Ranch is surrounded by the 73,000-acre Babcock Ranch Preserve. The nature reserve will be protected and maintained in perpetuity, while the city will be chock full of greenways, parks, and lakes. In short, the entire project has an element of preservation combined with an element of development.
Although Babcock Ranch will be solar power positive, the renderings indicate that small wind will also provide a portion of the city's energy. All commercial buildings and homes will be energy-efficient and certified according to Florida Green Building Council standards. The city will feature sustainable water management and conservation, street lamps designed to reduce light pollution, electrical car chargers and an integrated smart grid system, and green roofs that minimize building energy requirements.
The plan could create thousands of temporary jobs and roughly 20k permanent jobs in a range of industries. Ultimately, Babcock Ranch will have 6 million square feet of retail, commercial, office, civic, and light industrial space, and subject to approvals, construction of the FPL solar facility is targeted for late 2009, city center targeted for mid-2010, and first residential and commercial buildings targeted for late 2010.