More than 100 global cities now get the majority of electricity from renewables

Lucy Purdy

The number of cities that get at least 70 per cent of their total electricity supply from renewable energy has more than doubled since 2015

Data published this week by environmental impact research organisation CDP found that more than 101 of the 570 cities it studied, from Nairobi to Vancouver, sourced at least 70 per cent of their electricity from renewable sources in 2017. This is compared to just 42 in 2015.

More than 40 cities are currently operating on 100 per cent renewable electricity. These include the US city of Burlington, Basel in Switzerland, and the Icelandic capital Reykjavík. It also emerged this week that more than 80 UK towns and cities have committed to run on 100 per cent clean energy by 2050, including sources such as hydro, geothermal, solar and wind. They include Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow and 16 London boroughs.


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According to the World Economic Forum, unsubsidised renewables were the cheapest source of electricity in 30 countries in 2017, with renewables predicted to be consistently more cost effective than fossil fuels globally by 2020.

Kyra Appleby, director of cities at CDP, said: “Cities are responsible for 70 per cent of energy-related CO2 emissions and there is immense potential for them to lead on building a sustainable economy. Reassuringly, our data shows much commitment and ambition. Cities not only want to shift to renewable energy but, most importantly – they can.

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 prioritise the development of ambitious renewable energy procurement strategies. The time to act is now.”

In the US, 58 cities and towns have now committed to transition to 100 per cent clean, renewable energy, including big cities like Atlanta, Georgia, and San Diego in California. Earlier this month, US municipalities Denton, in Texas, and St. Louis Park in Minnesota, became the latest communities to establish 100 per cent renewable energy targets.

To read more about cities generating electricity from renewables visit here

 

Charging ahead: three cities that are powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity

 

Burlington, US

Vermont’s largest city now gets 100 per cent of its electricity from wind, solar, hydro, and biomass. The city has its own utility and citywide grid. In September 2014 the local community approved the city’s purchase of its ‘Winooski One’ hydroelectric facility.

Reykjavík, Iceland

Reykjavík sources all electricity from hydropower and geothermal and is now working to make all cars and public transit fossil-free by 2040. Iceland has almost entirely transitioned to clean energy for power and household heating.

Basel, Switzerland

Basel is 100 per cent renewable powered, by its own energy supply company no less. Most electricity comes from hydropower and 10 per cent comes from wind. Advocating clear political vision and will, in May 2017 Switzerland voted to phase out nuclear power in favour of renewable energy.


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