The number of cities around the world using mainly renewable energy has more than doubled since 2015, according to new research by environmental data group CDP. The not-for-profit group analysed data submitted from 570 cities worldwide. It was found that 101 cities sourced at least 70% of their electricity from renewable sources, compared to only 42 back in 2015.
Further, the data revealed that 43 cities are now powered by 100% renewable energy, including hydro, geothermal, solar, and wind power. Brazil, it has to be said, does account for more than 40 cities on the overall list, with almost half 100% powered by hydro from the country’s numerous dams.
According to the CDP data, Burlington, Vermont is the only city in the United States totally powered by renewable energy, with its combination of hydro, solar, wind, and biomass. However, Sierra Club research has previously found that 5 cities in the U.S. have achieved the 100% renewable energy goal. CDP partly attributes the increase in renewable energy numbers in its research to more cities sending them data, as well as the continuing global pressure for a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
Cities are responsible for about 70% of energy-related CO2 emissions, CDP’s director of cities Kyra Appleby has pointed out, and that this new research shows that, “Cities not only want to shift to renewable energy but, mostly importantly, they can.” There is still an obvious reliance on hydropower, but cities particularly in the developing world, “are beginning to understand the need for diverse energy for truly sustainable power generation.”
CDP notes that a good deal of the drive for climate action at the city level has come from the group of more than 7,400 city mayors, spurred on by the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.