Much of southwest Florida and neighboring areas were complete disasters after the wind storm damaged thousands of buildings in the region and cut off power to more than 2.6 million people. Babcock Ranch, the nation’s first sustainable town and only 12 miles from Fort Myers, never lost power. The forward-leaning town was designed to be climate-resilient and is powered by renewable energy.
As a result, Babcock Ranch only saw minimal damage to a few buildings and recorded no deaths. The town’s nearly 700,000 individual solar panels withstood Hurricane Ian and kept lights on in its 2,000 homes while the wind storm sent other parts of Florida into darkness. Ian tested the town’s climate resiliency and showed proof that renewable energy can help the country evade the devastating effects of climate change.