As the world grapples with climate change, urban energy systems have emerged as a key focus of mitigation and adaptation strategies. Cities contribute high shares of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Yet they also offer clear opportunities to reduce emissions and develop climate-resilient future infrastructure.
This report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) highlights resource potential, targets, technology options and system-planning priorities for cities around the world. City-level targets - properly attuned to local resources and needs - are an essential component of the transition to renewables.
Cities will need to accommodate two-thirds of the world's population in a liveable, low-carbon environment by 2050. Accelerated uptake of locally produced renewables can strengthen the urban economy, create new jobs and improve people's living conditions and welfare.
Future urban infrastructure must span the full spectrum of energy uses, including power, heating and cooling, buildings and transport. Smart grids linked to electric vehicles, energy storage and intelligence energy management are crucial to integrate high shares of solar and wind power in synergy with other renewable sources.
Among other findings: