First-ever Renewables in Cities Global Status Report was released last Tuesday by REN21.
“It might come as a surprise to some, but it is a pattern that we now find everywhere in the world: Cities are driving the transition towards renewable energy. They understand that renewables mean less lung and heart diseases, more local jobs and relief for the municipal budget,” said Rana Adib, REN21’s Executive Secretary, at the presentation of their first Renewables in Cities 2019 Global Status Report (REC-GSR) in Paris.
By November 2019, almost 1,200 jurisdictions and local governments in 23 countries had declared a state of climate emergency. Almost 10,000 have already adopted carbon emission reduction targets, many of which linked to renewable energy, notes the newly released report.
Many countries still expect that the implementation of 100% renewable energy systems will take several decades. Yet, there are plenty of cities in the world that already today source 100% of their electricity from renewables. Now, they are taking steps to expand their ambitions to get rid of fossil fuels in heating, cooling, transport and industry.
The report shows that more and more cities in Europe take the energy supply back into their own hands by re-municipalising energy companies or forming new ones. Barcelona Energía, recently formed to supply locally produced renewable energy to the city’s inhabitants and municipal facilities, is just one example. In 2000, Barcelona (a signatory to the Covenant of Mayors) was also one of the first European cities to require all new and renovated buildings to use solar energy to supply a minimum of 60% of a building’s running hot water needs. The next project in line is a solar cooling network which is expected to start operating by the end of 2019.
Data in the report reveals that increased prosperity and living standards in cities cause a sheer insatiable hunger for energy. REN21 ́s report shows that 70% of all cities are already affected by the impact of climate change today. Says Adib: “If cities don't do something about the way they produce and use energy, they are going to wreak their own destruction. It’s that simple and they know it."
Source: REN21 press release