Renewables in Cities Global Status Report

REN21 Secretariat

Renewables in Cities Global Status Report

Cities have a unique role to play in accelerating the sustainable energy transition. Crisscrossed with transport systems and home to a variety of energy-intensive end-use sectors like heating and cooling, cities are a prime playing field to transition to sustainable energy. More than half the world’s population (55%) lives in cities today, and cities account for two-thirds of global energy demand and around 75% of global CO2 emissions.  However, comparable data are lacking on city-level renewable energy targets, policies and action.

The Renewables in Cities 2019 Global Status Report is the first in what is to become an annual stock-take of the global transition to renewable energy at the city-level. REN21 is developing this series to build up reliable data on and create a comprehensive picture of renewable energy developments in cities globally. This makes it possible to better inform decision-makers both in cities and in the wider energy arena.

In the report you can find chapters on:

  • Cites in the Renewable Energy Transition
  • Drivers for Renewable Energy in Cities
  • Urban Policy Landscape: Targets and Policies
  • Urban Renewable Energy Markets
  • Mobilising Finance and Enabling Business Models
  • Citizen Participation

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The Renewables in Cities Global Status Report builds on the success of the Renewables Global Status Report, that REN21 has produced since 2005. Our reports are the result of wide-spread collaboration across an international community of authors, data contributors, and reviewers. Learn more about the connections between the Renewables in Cities Global Status Report and the Renewables Global Status Report here.

Renewables in Cities

Cities have already adopted some of the most innovative and ambitious commitments for renewables globally. Cities offer a lever to advance the transition towards renewable energy in all end-use sectors and to reduce energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. By reducing reliance on fossil fuels and adopting renewable energy infrastructure, cities can improve their air quality, increase economic development, create local jobs and boost resilience to climate change-caused impacts. Renewable energy makes sense for cities because it has the potential to directly improve the quality of life and health of their citizens.

As of 2018, around two-thirds of global final energy use was concentrated in cities, compared with less than half (45%) in 1990. Further urbanisation, population growth, and economic development, as well as rising prosperity and living standards, are expected to contribute to growing energy demand at the municipal level.

Check out the Renewables in Cities 2019 Global Status Report for a comprehensive overview of the renewable energy policy, finance, and market action that cities are taking. Look at the REN21 Renewables in Cities interactive web portal here to explore the vital work that select cities in more detail.

The Renewables in Cities 2019 Global Status Report would not have been possible without the support of REN21’s partners and contributors. Find out more about the community behind this report here!

Do you want to be involved in the 2020 edition of the Renewables in Cities Global Status Report?

Please let us know about your expertise by filling in this short form, or e-mailing us at This will help us make sure to include you in the right stage of the report production process.

As with all REN21 publications, all contributors and reviewers will be acknowledged in the final report.