Cities moving towards 100% renewables

Cities moving towards 100% renewables

A new report from environmental impact research group CDP has claimed that in 2017 101 of the 500+ cities for whom it compiles records now source at least 70% of its electricity from renewable sources. This is an increase of over 100% from the 42 cities in 2015.

Speaking to the Guardian Nicolette Bartlett, director of climate change at CDP stated the increase was due to a deliberate shift by many towards renewable energy usage plus more cities reporting to CDP that meant the data was a “comprehensive picture of what cities are doing with regards to renewable energy.”

Kyra Appleby CDP’s director of cities said “Reassuringly, our data shows much commitment and ambition. Cities not only want to shift to renewable energy, but, most importantly – they can.”

Climate action at city level increased dramatically in 2017 on the back of Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord which in turn led to a global agreement of 7,500 city mayors to tackle climate change head on.

These include Burlington, Vermont which reported to CDP that all its power was sourced from renewable sources in 2017 having fully transitioned two years previously and now investigating moving to zero-carbon.

Mayor Miro Weinberger said to CDP that its shift to a diverse mix of biomass, hydro, wind and solar power had boosted the local economy, and encouraged other cities to follow suit. Across the US 58 towns and cities, including Atlanta and San Diego, have set a target of 100% renewable energy. Research from the Sierra Club states there are five such cities in the US including Burlington.

In the UK 84 cities have signed up the UK100 local government network’s target of 100% of energy from renewable sources by 2050 fourteen of which were 2017 additions including Liverpool, Barking and Dagenham, Bristol, Bury, Peterborough, Redcar and Cleveland.

Around the world 43 cities are now powered entirely by renewable energy with the majority being in South and Central America where hydropower is common. In the six months to July, Latin American cities reported having instigated $183m of renewable energy projects, significantly less when compared to Europe ($1.7bn worth of projects) or Africa ($236m).

Europe however still lags behind with only 20 cities sourcing more than 70% of its electricity from renewable sources with the best being Icelandic capital Reykjavik, which sources all its electricity from hydropower and geothermal and is now working to make all cars and public transit fossil-free by 2040.

With cities using vast amounts of electricity the switch many are making to 100% renewable energy is a massive step towards blanket 100% renewable energy. In addition many large scale industrial plants are signing up to renewable energy power purchase agreements which is another huge step.

There are still other hurdles to overcome but as the infrastructure continues to expand the ultimate goal of 100% renewable energy across the globe is no longer a pipe dream. It makes both economical sense and will create a safer and cleaner environment we all can enjoy.

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