Renewables in Cities workshop: what were the main outcomes?

After the release of the Preliminary Findings of the Renewables in Cities – Global Status Report at the International Conference on Climate Action in Heidelberg, Germany our Project Manager, Lea Ranalder, crossed the Atlantic. Her next destination was Santiago, Chile where she went to hear about renewable energy developments in Latin America cities, and to learn about the drivers, barriers, existing policies and targets that underpin renewable energy uptake.  Lea participated in a two-day workshop organised by the UN Environment, 30-31 of May. More than 40 professionals joined the workshop; many who work in municipal energy planning departments.

Key takeaways from her discussions:

  • Most local actions are driven by national policies and planning processes.
  • Many of the financing mechanisms are developed at national scale, therefore, there is no specific focus on cities. The access – and lack thereof – to finance is an important issue for cities.
  • A number of Latin American cities have targets, many of which are related to greenhouse gases emission reduction and climate change, providing a natural opening for renewable energy development.
  • While Latin America has almost universal electricity access, many municipalities struggle with power cuts. Energy poverty in the heating sector is persistent issue, both in urban and rural areas where there is continued high reliance on biomass.

The Preliminary Findings of the Renewables in Cities demonstrate that cities are key players in the energy transition, but many data gaps exist on municipal renewable energy policies, generation capacity, renewable energy shares in public transport, municipal fleets and shared transport economy.

The production of Renewables in Cities – Global Status Report is still ongoing.  We invite experts to help fill the data gaps by showcasing their city-level renewable energy action to be featured in the Renewables in Cities 2019 Global Status Report.  All contributions to the report will be acknowledged.

The Preliminary Findings of the report was released 22 May, during the “Energy Transition” cluster workshop co-organised by REN21, Energy Cities and Sustainable Energy Africa at ICCA 2019. Currently, over 200 experts from around the world have contributed data to the Renewables in Cities 2019 Global Status Report. The report looks at what motivates cities to use renewables and documents the types of policies, innovative technologies, business models, and community engagement initiatives that cities are using to implement the renewable energy transition. The final report will be published in late 2019.