Mid-sized cities leading the way in the global energy transition?


Energy technology certification firm DNV GL has published a new report analysing the activities of cities in driving the global transition to a sustainable, decarbonized energy future.

The report Energy Transition Framework for Cities comprises efforts by ten of the most forward-looking and pioneering cities in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.

The report analyses efforts by cities in seven dimensions.

According to the findings of the report:

  • While megacities attract the headlines, significant innovation and leadership is occurring in mid-size cities, which are more numerous and comprise a greater portion of the world’s population in aggregate.
  • Cities consume about 75% of the world’s primary energy and contribute around 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions
  • Cities are increasing their staff and resources through the creation of new programmes, partnerships and services focused on energy generation, procurement and use
  • While cities have had a great deal of success setting aggressive climate and energy targets and implementing programmes in their own operations, other areas related to financing and resilience remain challenging for them.

Richard Barnes, Regional Manager, Energy North America at DNV GL, said:  “… vision for a safe and sustainable future requires a broader view across multiple dimensions of the energy transition. Driven by inconsistent international leadership and enabled by changes in technology, energy markets and regulation, cities have emerged as significant players in the energy transition.

“But there are some challenges they cannot face alone. As our report highlights, utilities, energy providers and other companies have a big opportunity to step up and help cities meet these challenges. Together, we can enhance the lives of millions by creating more livable and sustainable cities.

“It’s clear that there is no single correct path to a decarbonized energy future for cities. Some cities have been driven by their citizens and others have implemented top-down initiatives. For instance, in Bristol in the UK, the vision of one person – the mayor – was picked up by the whole community.

“But by drawing on the commonalities across leading cities, we believe the best practices in our report provide a roadmap for other cities who want to embark on the energy transition journey to improve quality of life, sustainability and resilience in our cities for generations to come,” adds lead author Betty Seto, head of DNV GL’s Sustainable Buildings and Communities Department.