Municipal governments around the world have been moving renewable energy up the policy and planning agenda, driven by the desire to improve public health and well-being, alleviate poverty, tackle climate change and improve local resilience, among other goals, and supported by the falling prices of renewables; overall, more than 1 billion people – around a quarter of the global urban population – lived in a city with a renewable energy target and/or policy (for a total of over 1,300 cities), and around 260 cities set new targets or passed new policies in 2020.1 In many cases, municipal targets and policies are far more ambitious than those in place at higher levels of government.2


260 cities

set new targets or passed new policies in 2020.

Municipalities have numerous policy options to stimulate renewable energy deployment. They can set targets and scale up the use of renewables for their own municipal operations (whether in buildings or transport fleets) through on-site generation and procurement policies. They also can use their role as regulators and policy makers to implement direct regulatory policies, financial and fiscal incentives as well as indirect support policies to encourage the city-wide adoption of renewable technologies.3 In addition, municipal governments can raise awareness about the benefits of renewables, facilitate dialogue, and engage local residents, businesses and other stakeholders in the energy transitioni.4

Municipal governments have been advancing the production and use of renewable energy through various measures, including integrating renewables directly into near- and long-term energy and resource planning ( see City Snapshot: Orlando).5 For example, mandating the inclusion of renewable technologies and/or electric vehicle charging infrastructure in new construction can enable higher renewable energy shares while helping to achieve other city-wide goals. Governments also can advance renewables by planning infrastructure and the built environment in more efficient ways, considering urban density, building orientation and related effects on mobility to enable greater renewable energy use in key sectors such as buildings, industry and transport.6

iFor more on the multiple roles of municipal governments in the energy transition, see Chapter 1, “Cities in the Renewable Energy Transition”, in the REN21, Renewables in Cities 2019 Global Status Report (Paris: 2019),


Renewable Energy

Emission Reduction and Net-Zero Targets


Municipal Buildings

Municipal Transport


City-wide Buildings

City-wide Power

Fiscal and Financial Incentives

City-wide Heating and Cooling

Regulatory Policies

Fiscal and Financial Incentives

Overall Enabling Environment

Districts and Neighbourhoods

City-wide Transport

Regulatory Policies

Fiscal and Financial Incentives

Overall Enabling Environment