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GSR 2015

98 04 POLICY LANDSCAPE Public financing policies remain an important driver of deployment, supporting renewable power systems, solar thermal technologies, and alternative transportation options. For example, in 2014, Barcelona (Spain) approved a USD 13.7  million (EUR 11.3 million) subsidy scheme to promote rooftop renovation, including the installation of solar water heaters.124 In Melbourne (Australia), the government offers rebates to businesses for the purchase and installation of solar PV systems to stimulate demand.125 Cities have enacted financial support mechanisms to spur the development of private purchases of EVs. In China, Shenzhen enacted a new programme aimed at increasing the number of EVs used in the city’s taxi fleet, offering taxi drivers the ability to lease EVs with no down-payments.126 Public-private partnerships are also a tool for implementing renewable energy projects in municipalities that are rich in renewable resources but have limited budgets. In China, Xiong County (under governance of Baoding City) adopted a partnership approach to harness its geothermal resources, which now cover 90% of heat demand within the county’s district heating areas.127 The City of Melbourne is trialling a “group purchasing model” where large energy users across the city can aggregate their energy demand to benefit from economies of scale.128 In addition to supporting the deployment of renewable energy technologies by private parties, local governments often lead the charge directly by purchasing renewable energy systems for municipal buildings or public infrastructure improvements. Cities have created innovative means for integrating renewable energy technologies as well as electric vehicles into public procurement. Similar to national-level EV policy, policymakers are still slow to adopt mechanisms directly linking EV promotion to renewable energy. Building on the transition of San Francisco’s public bus fleet to all biofuel and EVs, in 2014 a coalition of city government agencies made the largest-ever purchase of EVs in the United States.129 Increasing the use of EVs in public fleets also has been key in a number of city-wide efforts to reduce fossil fuel consumption in the transportation sector. For example, Paris (France) announced the purchase of USD 12–49 million (EUR 10–40 million) of electric buses for its city bus fleet as part of a pilot electric bus programme.130 Another instrument that has had a positive impact on the deployment of renewable electricity at the local level has been municipalities taking over control or ownership of local utilities. To enable greater integration of renewable sources in Europe, the Community Power (CO-POWER) project was developed to support the creation of community power systems across 12 European countries.131 In the United States, as of early 2015, more than 2,000 communities had created community power systems to enable the uptake of renewable energy, including in Austin, Texas, where Austin Energy is responsible for meeting the city’s renewable energy target.132 An additional 800 or more electrical co-operatives (co-ops) in the United States have helped extend the benefits of consumer-owned power systems.133 District heating and cooling systems have emerged as another measure helping to facilitate the scale-up of renewable energy. At the city level, district energy networks have been promoted through municipal oversight of planning and regulation. A few notable examples of systems relying on renewable energy—in addition to Xiong County in China—include Dubai, which has developed the world’s largest district cooling network as part of a plan to meet 40% of the city’s cooling demand by 2030 utilising technologies such as water chillers, and Paris, which is home to Europe’s first district cooling network, deriving its cooling power from the water of the Seine River.134 Additional European cities such as Copenhagen (Denmark), Helsinki (Finland), and Vilnius (Lithuania) source nearly all of their heating and cooling supply from district energy networks.135 Large-scale solar thermal heating plants have been developed to feed in to district energy networks across the EU (particularly in northern Europe). Total installations are led by Denmark, while cities and towns in countries such as Austria, Germany, and Sweden also have taken a leading role in developing large-scale systems.136 Policymakers in many cities have focused on reducing administrative hurdles to renewable energy deployment by simplifying permitting procedures. In 2014, several Chinese cities, including Shanghai, simplified their administrative processes for solar PV installations.137 In the United States, the city of Los Angeles began implementing a new online permitting procedure for solar PV to reduce costs for homeowners who install new systems, and the US federal SunShot initiative has partnered with a number of communities to reduce the total installed cost of solar energy systems to USD 0.06 per kWh by 2020.138 Cities are increasingly working collaboratively to spur renewable energy deployment more effectively while making the most of limited resources. The Compact of Mayors was launched on a global scale in September 2014 at the United Nations Climate Summit hosted by the UN Secretary-General. The group brings together over 2,000 cities to promote and support city-level climate actions, including the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.139 The Covenant of Mayors is a European-based initiative through which authorities commit to increasing renewable energy and energy efficiency in their municipalities or regions. By end-2014, it had expanded to 6,149 signatories, and, by early 2015, 71 groups of small municipalities had adopted Joint Sustainable Energy Action Plans under guidance of the Covenant in order to aggregate their resources and benefit from economies of scale.140 The Energy-safe Cities East Asia Program was launched in 2014 to help cities in China, Japan, South Korea, and Mongolia achieve their goals of 100% renewable energy by 2030.141

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