Figures show that the number of cities across the world that source a minimum of 70% of their electricity through green means has increased by more than 100% since 2015. The data also shows that over 40 cities are now running completely on clean energy.
The report, which was published by environmental research company CDP found that 101 cities out of the 570 monitored by the company got at least 70% of their energy from renewable sources compared with 42 in 2015. Cities that hit this level of renewable energy use include Seattle, Vancouver, Oslo and Nairobi.
CDP’s director of climate change Nicolette Bartlett believes the increase was down to a larger number of cities reporting figures to CDP as well as growing awareness of the value of green energy.
Latin America appeared to be leading the charge when it came to renewable energy with a large portion of their electricity being derived from hydropower. Broken down per continent of the cities getting 70% of their energy from renewables, 57% were in Latin America, 20% in Europe, and 9% each in Africa and North America. Europe spent considerably more than other continents on development and maintenance of renewable technology with investment over the past 6 months totalling $1.7bn. Africa spent $236m, Latin America $183m and North America once again found themselves at the foot of the table with $113mn in funding for clean energy.
There are signs of progress in America, however, with Burlington, the largest city in Vermont, becoming one of the few cities in the world and the only US city in history to run off 100% green energy back in 2015. The city derives its electricity from myriad sources including wind, solar, biomass and hydropower as well as also having its own citywide grid.
“We have seen first-hand that renewable energy boosts our local economy and creates a healthier place to work, live and raise a family,” Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said. “We encourage other cities around the globe to follow our innovative path as we all work toward a more sustainable energy future.”
It does appear that other US cities have taken notice since then, with 58 different local authorities including major cities like San Diego and Atlanta pledging their commitment to eventually becoming 100% green. Much of this action has taken place because of the United States Conference of Mayors agreeing to a new resolution to increase usage of renewable energy on a city level. The new targets were set as response to Donald Trump promising to withdraw from the Paris agreement.
In the UK in the last year, 14 more cities had signed up to the UK100s target for local government of 100% green energy by the year 2050. These new inclusions bring the overall total to 84.
The figures make encouraging reading for those in the renewable energy sector as well as pointing to a shift in attitudes towards green energy sources.
“Reassuringly, our data shows much commitment and ambition,” said Kyra Appleby, director of cities at CDP, “Cities not only want to shift to renewable energy but, most importantly, they can. We urge all cities to disclose to us, work together to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and prioritize the development of ambitious renewable energy procurement strategies. The time to act is now.”