First “Renewables in Cities: Global Status Report” is OUT

REN21 recently published its first Renewables in Cities: Global Status Report (REC-GSR), which provides a comprehensive overview of the current trends and developments of renewable energy in cities. Cities are considered to be the key drivers in the global transition to renewable energy.

As recent developments show, countries often struggle with the uptake of sustainable energy sources and with advancing the goal of implementing a 100% renewable energy-based system. The report emphasizes that cities are directly responsible for an estimated 75% of global CO2 emissions as well as for significant indirect consumption of energy such as materials, products and other goods. Despite this, there are plenty of best practice examples in cities, which are leading the transition by supplying their inhabitants with 100% renewable electricity and by stepping up their ambitions to eliminate fossil fuels in heating, cooling, transport and industry. The commitment to delivering the Paris Agreement at the local level and to reducing air pollution in their cities is demonstrated by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group that connected 94 cities in mid-2019.

Renewable energy sources have several positive effects on health, environment and the economy. At the same time, for cities in the developing world, renewable energy is the only way to expand energy access to all inhabitants, particularly those living in urban slums and informal settlements and in suburban and peri-urban areas. These are also cities that are severely affected by the impacts of climate change. For these cities, deploying renewable energy is even more crucial to sustain energy infrastructure and avoid interruptions in energy supply.

The “Cities in the Renewable Energy Transition" chapter of the report highlights that the ability of cities to advance a renewable energy agenda depends heavily on local characteristics, including their own financial resources, access to external financing, tax income, economic growth and the local administrative capacity and authority. The chapter also comprises different regional urbanization trends form Europe, Middle East and Northern Africa, Asia, North and Latin-America. Efforts can be scaled-up by increasing the flow of capital into renewable energy and other enabling technologies through innovative financing opportunities (for example, public private partnerships) and innovative business models (pay-as-you-go, peer-to-peer energy sharing and development of energy service companies).

The report, which makes data available in a more standardized, easier evaluable and comparable way, will be part of an annual review of the world’s cities’ transition to renewable energy.

The full report is available under the following link.

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