Cities have the opportunity to transform and decarbonise their energy supply and consumption.
That’s according to the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) report, in which it estimates energy use in more than 3,600 cities and explored their potential to boost renewable energy by 2030.
IRENA believes cities, which account for 65% of global energy use and 70% of man-made carbon emissions, must play a key role in the transition to a low carbon economy.
It states renewable energy sources alongside energy storage, interconnectors, demand management technologies and smart grids have the potential to meet these goals.
Mayors and municipal governments play an increasing central role in accelerating the switch to green energy and clean energy solutions, IRENA adds.
It suggests sustainable energy can be promoted at the municipal level through planning, regulation, public procurement, direct investment, provision of services and awareness raising.
The report also states cities in emerging economies will be best positioned to deploy energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in new buildings and make transportation more sustainable.
On the other hand, developed cities have lower building turnover rates and will largely rely on retrofits and technologies, such as heat pumps and rooftop solar equipment, that can be added relatively easily to existing buildings.
Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA Director-General said: “Cities can play a transformative role in leading the world to a clean and sustainable energy future. 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.”
According to a study by Arup, cities “can be greener without national policies”.
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