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The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has released the results of a study conducted to understand steps being taken by global cities to increase energy efficiency and renewable energy adoption.

The study included an analysis of 66 cities and has found that only a few cities extensively include clean energy initiatives in their climate change and resilience plans.

ACEEE leveraged data acquired from an international programme called 100 Resilient Cities.

While many cities are taking some steps to increase energy efficiency and renewable power, only one-fifth include an extensive set of such initiatives in their resilience plans.

Climate change is the primary driver for cities’ resilience plans, most of which include at least one measure to increase energy efficiency and renewable power generation.

20% of cities earned a rating of “exemplary” or “substantial” for energy efficiency or renewable energy initiatives in their plans.  

15 cities rated as exemplary or substantial for energy efficiency include: Of these, 4 are exemplary — Athens, Buenos Aires, Honolulu, and New York — and 11 are substantial. These cities are located in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Oceania, suggesting efficiency is a readily available global resource.

13 cities have plans rated as exemplary or substantial for renewable energy. Of these, 4 are exemplary — Chicago, Los Angeles, Honolulu, and New York — and 9 are substantial. These cities are concentrated in North America and Asia.

More than half received an “adequate” rating for energy efficiency (39 cities) and nearly half for renewable energy (32 cities). The remainder scored “lacking,” meaning they incorporate few initiatives or none at all. Key findings include:

 39 cities have adequate ratings for energy efficiency, and 32 for renewable energy.

lead author Dan York, an ACEEE local policy programme fellow, said: “Cities need to step up and capitalize on clean energy’s multiple benefits by making it part of their resilience planning. Several, notably Honolulu and New York, are leading the way.

“…energy-efficient buildings can improve grid reliability during extreme weather events and help maintain livable indoor temperatures longer than inefficient buildings during a power outage. Electric vehicles can shield cities from oil supply disruptions, and renewable energy can provide back-up power to critical buildings.

Chicago, New York, and Athens do most to include clean energy in their resilience plans.

Recommendations to boost energy efficiency and renewables

1. Encourage the use of EVs and other sustainable modes of transportation.

2. Establish municipal building and fleet efficiency policies, create microgrids and encourage the electrification of buildings.

3. Cities can aim to generate 100% of their energy from renewable sources and use only this energy for municipal operations. They can increase local wind energy generation, solar-plus-storage systems, and waste-to-energy facilities.

Click here for more information about the study.