Five trends: U.S. cities and counties are going renewable

At-a-Glance:

Cities have been a major contributor to climate change, accounting for more than 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. But in recent years, a growing number of cities across the United States have enacted and acted on new renewable energy goals. A new tool from the American Cities Climate Challenge Renewables Accelerator, the Local Government Renewables Action Tracker, showcases renewable energy deals made by U.S. cities, counties, tribal governments, municipal utilities and community choice aggregations since 2015. To learn more, read “Five trends: U.S. cities and counties are going renewable”.

Key Takeaways:

  • Top five renewable energy trends across local governments:
    1. Renewable energy procurement by U.S. local governments is rising dramatically
    2. Most renewable energy capacity purchased by local governments in the past five years occurred in California and Texas, but procurement continues to grow substantially throughout the country
    3. Local governments are using off-site power purchase agreements (PPAs) to drive most of their new local renewable energy capacity
    4. On-site deals are most popular in the Northeast, whereas off-site PPAs make up most purchases in California, Texas and the Southwest
    5. Solar leads nationally in terms of the number of deals and overall capacity, while individual wind projects are generally larger and have a strong presence in the West

Path to 100% Perspective:

So what’s next for renewable energy? So far, over 150 local governments have made renewable energy deals since 2015, with even more committing to ambitious renewable energy goals. But to achieve these targets, local governments will need to accelerate their large-scale renewable energy procurement by creating comprehensive clean energy plans that combine several types of projects and by partnering with each other and other organizations to buy energy together. To enable a 100% renewable energy future, local governments will have to play an integral role in growing the renewables market and further accelerating these trends.

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