⚡ Energy Systems - Knowledge Hub | Circle Economy Foundation
⚡ Energy Systems

Cities consume about 75% of global energy and emit between 50% and 60% of global greenhouse gases (UN-Habitat). To reduce the negative impact of their energy consumption, cities need to shift away from fossil fuels and move towards renewable energy sources. Such a shift will help cities work towards their climate change mitigation and adaptation action plans. Renewable energy technologies such as wind, water, solar, and geothermal can also help improve access to energy in vulnerable and marginalised neighbourhoods through, for example, decentralised, off-grid solutions.

Renewable energy technologies can harvest the energy in nature’s processes, such as wind, and solar radiation and geothermal heat, that can be replenished within a human lifespan. In contrast, fossil fuels are materials that are not replenished within a human lifespan and are combusted for energy, losing the fuel material and resulting in emissions.

Local governments can develop sustainable energy plans, considering different energy resources and requirements, to develop a robust strategy for the development of renewable energy technologies and infrastructure throughout the city. They can also institute specific legislation and tax systems to regulate energy production and consumption, incentivise research and development of cleaner, more efficient technologies. Via Power Purchase Agreements cities can buy renewable energy from green energy providers and fix the price in order to provide security to financial institutions to finance renewable energy infrastructure. Furthermore, increasing awareness and facilitating capacity-building on planning urban sustainable energy projects can help the uptake of clean energy across the city by different stakeholders—from citizens to businesses and institutions. Facilitating collaboration, then, will be crucial, since private companies operate most of the world’s energy systems.

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