Boosting renewables in cities is vital to achieving climate and development goals according to a new International Renewable Energy Agency analysis of progress in more than 3500 cities.
Cities now have an unprecedented opportunity to transform and decarbonise their energy supply and use, according to the report from IRENA. ‘Renewable Energy in Cities’ estimates energy use in 3649 cities and explores their potential to scale-up renewable energy by 2030. It finds that while there is no ‘one-size fits all’ solution, every city has huge potential to cost-effectively boost renewable energy use at the local level.
“Cities can play a transformative role in leading the world to a clean and sustainable energy future,” said Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA director-general. “We have to rethink the entire urban energy landscape, which requires rigorous planning and holistic decision-making. Renewable energy, combined with energy efficiency, will power the future growth of cities. We must ensure this transition happens as soon as possible.”
Accounting for 65 % of global energy use and 70 % of man-made carbon emissions, cities must play a key role in the transition to a low-carbon economy. Electricity use in cities varies widely depending on climate conditions, population density and development stage. Likewise, energy use for transport varies greatly depending on urbanisation models. Today, renewables supply only 20 per cent of this energy, but much more is possible. ‘Renewable Energy in Cities’ outlines three priority areas – both in technology and in policy – where cities can take action to scale up renewables use: renewable energy in buildings (for heating, cooling, cooking, and appliances); sustainable options for transport (electric mobility and biofuels); and creating integrated urban energy systems.
“By 2050, urban populations are expected to double, making urbanisation one of this century’s most transformative trends,” said Mr Amin. “Now is the time to grow with renewables, leapfrog dirty technology, and create cities of the future that people are proud to call home.”
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