Global Survey: Few Cities Have Robust Clean Energy Policies in Resilience Plans

(ACEEE blog, 30 Jan 2020) Cities around the world are preparing for the challenges of the 21st century, including those related to climate change.

While most include clean energy initiatives in their resilience plans, few do so extensively, according to ACEEE’s new global survey of 66 cities.

We found that, 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. These initiatives can help cities, which represent about two-thirds of global energy use and emissions, mitigate the unprecedented challenges posed by climate change.

“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,” says lead author Dan York, an ACEEE local policy program fellow. He notes that 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.

For example, after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan, electric vehicles provided essential services to devastated communities, and during Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico in 2017, a solar power system on a San Juan hospital provided electricity.

Which cities do most to include clean energy?

To understand clean energy’s treatment in the global resilience movement, ACEEE rated the extent and quality of clean energy initiatives in 66 community resilience plans obtained from an international program called 100 Resilient Cities. We found that climate change is the primary driver for such initiatives in these plans, most of which include at least one measure to increase energy efficiency and renewable power generation.

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ACEEE blog, 30 Jan 2020: Global Survey: Few Cities Have Robust Clean Energy Policies in Resilience Plans