Chicago, Illinois, USA

Chicago, Illinois, USA

  • Target: 100% renewable electricity by 2035
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Solar energy
  • Implementation: Chicago is the largest city in the United States to commit to 100% renewable energy. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, it is an international hub for finance, commerce, industry, technology, telecommunications, and transportation. Historically, Chicago has made noted contributions to urban planning and zoning standards, including new construction styles,  the development of the City Beautiful Movement, and the steel-framed skyscraper. Today, it continues its high standard of innovation by setting 100% RE as the basis for future urban development (even despite the 11 nuclear reactors already in operation in the state of Illinois). The 100% target is part of the  Resilient Chicago plan launched in 2018, which commits the city to transition "to 100% clean, renewable energy in buildings community-wide by 2035”. The plan is bolstered by the Sierra Club’s “Ready for 100” campaign, an environmental action group advocating 100% renewable energy worldwide.

    The city of Chicago has also set more specific sectoral targets. By 2025, all city government electricity purchases, first established in 2017, must come from 100% renewable sources. By 2040, the entire bus fleet will be electrified. The city is also making a push for community solar by supporting the Illinois Power Agency’s community incentive programs and by incentivizing community solar through voluntary programs, such as the Chicago Renewable Energy Challenge. Since the passage of the Future Energy Jobs Act, Chicago has seen a boom in community solar, with 1.8 GW of projects applying for block grants in just two weeks.
  • Population: 2,695,598 city, 9,533,040 metro (2010)
  • Area: 234.14 sq mi (606 km2) city, 10,874 sq mi (28,160 km2) metro
  • Link: http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/progs/env/chicago-renewable-energy-challenge-program.html
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia

Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia

  • Target: 100% RE by 2030, with an interim target of 25% in 2020 and 50% in 2025.
  • Status: In progress -  In 2014 already 39% of all Coffs Harbour households or businesses have installed rooftop solar PV systems.
  • RES: Solar power and energy-efficient street lighting
  • Implementation: Coffs Harbour City Council set a 100% RE as a corporate, organisational target for itself in March 2015. Although the target did not apply to the rest of the city area, its aim was to make the Council a role model of sustainability to the Coffs Harbour area. The Council committed to reducing annual corporate CO2 emissions by 25% on 2010 levels by 2020 and by 50% by 2025. In 2004, it was the first council in Australia to introduce energy-efficient street lighting across its entire local government area. In 2010, the Council installed the largest public rooftop solar power array in NSW on the top of Rigby House which saves $30,000 per annum in electricity costs. It has also installed solar panels at the local Botanic Gardens. In October 2013, Council adopted a Climate Change Policy. It adopted an energy fund for investment into efficiency works and renewables that will be financed through 10% of the difference in costs between the black and green energy purchased by Council, or AUS$100,000 a year, whichever is the greater. A Coffs Harbour Emissions Reduction Plan (CHERP) has been effective from January 2016, which sets out a framework on how the Council monitors, reviews and reports on its emissions and RE.
  • Population: 70,000 (2017)
  • Area: 1,175 km2
  • Link: https://www.coffscoastadvocate.com.au/news/council-sets-ambitious-energy-and-emissions-target/2579807/
Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia

Columbia, South Carolina, USA

South Carolina State House, Columbia, South Carolina, USA

  • Target: 100% renewable energy by 2036
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Solar energy
  • Implementation: As the first municipality in South Carolina to commit to 100% renewable energy, the city of Columbia today powers its municipal buildings with 100% solar energy and all of the traffic lights have been converted to LED. When record downpours in 2015 caused severe flooding in Columbia, destroying roads and dams, causing billions of dollars in damage, and costing 19 people their lives, its Mayor Steve Benjamin pushed to address the growing threat of climate disruption by supporting clean energy legislation at state and local levels. In June 2017, Columbia adopted its clean energy resolution. To meet this goal, the city planned to implement  a thorough energy efficiency audit, a solar-powered wastewater facility, and transition municipal operations to 100% renewable energy. These efforts would run parallel to sustainable water management and wastewater infrastructure improvements that are designed to guard against future flooding. Community health was another motivation for the 100% target, as this impacted by fossil-fuel pollution and natural disasters. The resolution also emphasizes economic growth, job creation, and reduced utility costs. The city makes use of the Solarize South Carolina program and legislation that not only lifted the cap on net metering and rooftop solar, but also help increase solar energy–related jobs in Columbia by 46% in just one year (2015-2016). Columbia did face some setbacks - solar legislation stipulated a cap if solar output reached 2% of peak energy production.  Rapid growth of solar energy in Columbia and other parts of the state triggered this cap several years sooner than expected, which may have resulted in the loss of many solar-related jobs and a drop in solar power usage. A bill that proposed allowing new customers to install home solar panels failed at the state level. Also, plans to develop a solar-powered wastewater facility were stalled by the 2015 floods, and the local utility backed out. The city has now taken up the project and is looking to redesign and build the facility itself. In December 2017, Columbia became the only city in South Carolina to receive a 3-star certification by STAR Communities, a measure of local sustainability progress against national standards. The city has set a goal to improve its rating from 3 stars to 4 (out of a possible 5) over the next three years.
  • Population: 133,451 (2018)
  • Area: 134.9 sq mi (349 km2)
  • Link: https://www.columbiasc.net/mayor/initiatives/clean-energy
South Carolina State House, Columbia, South Carolina, USA

Concord, New Hampshire, USA

Concord, New Hampshire, USA

  • Target: 100% renewable electricity by 2030, 100% clean energy in all sectors by 2050
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Solar and wind power
  • Implementation: The state capital of Concord has received strong support from public, private, and faith-based sectors in its goal to achieve a clean energy future, joining three other New Hampshire cities in this quest. The city has begun the planning process to achieve its clean energy goals. On July 9, 2018, the Concord City Council voted unanimously to work toward 100% clean and renewable energy. The resolution already received plenty community support, with endorsements from the State Employees Association, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Concord, the Chamber of Commerce, and the editorial board of The Concord Monitor. The capital’s largest private sector employer, Concord Hospital, was also supportive of the initiative. Concord’s resolution states that Concord Energy and the Environment Advisory Committee will work with the city government to create a stakeholder committee that will help shape Concord’s strategic energy plan. This measure is intended to ensure that every part of the Concord community is able to offer input on the plan, which the city plans to gather through public meetings. Within the first year, the Energy and Environment Committee will lead the development of a strategic plan to establish feasible pathways to complete the transition to 100% clean energy.

    The city has already taken steps in implementation. It is planning the development of a large solar photovoltaic facility on the city’s closed landfill. It is developing changes to the local zoning ordinance to accommodate the siting of solar projects. It is investigating opportunities to use New Hampshire’s Volkswagen settlement money to invest in electric-vehicle charging infrastructure in the city. It is engaging in discussions with major city institutions, local gas and electric utilities, and state policymakers about how best to achieve the adopted renewable energy goals. Concord is also making use of statewide legislation that promotes clean energy for all New Hampshire residents. These measures include tax incentives for individuals, businesses, and nonprofits, as well as net metering for homeowners using solar- or wind-generated power.
  • Population: 43,412 (2018)
  • Area: 67.5 sq mi (174.8 km2)
  • Link: 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY GOAL STRATEGIC PLAN (Draft)
Concord, New Hampshire, USA

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Target: Carbon neutral capital by 2025.
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Windpower, solar energy, biomass cogeneration plants, biogas and hybrid buses, electrical and hydrogen-powered cars, and energy retrofitted buildings.
  • Implementation: The city of Copenhagen, Denmark, aims at be a carbon neutral capital by 2025. In 2014, the city received the European Green Capital Award and in 2013 the Climate Leadership Prize. In 2009, Copenhagen City Council adopted a 2015 climate plan for the city, which resulted in a reduction of COemissions by 21% by 2011 in comparison to 2005 figures. To reach the 2025 carbon free target, the city will focus on four main areas: energy consumption, energy production, mobility, and city administration initiatives. It includes the construction of land and offshore wind turbines, energy retrofitted buildings, implementation of Low-Energy Construction in all buildings, and promotion of solar energy. In addition to that, the city plans the switch from coal to biomass in heat and power plants, geothermal plant, more renewable energy in the country´s electricity grid, and the obligation of energy companies to save energy. The capital is also taking into account the stricter European regulations on fuel efficiency, the promotion of cycling, biogas and hybrid buses, and the introduction of electrical and hydrogen-powered cars. The city administration is reducing its own energy consumption in its buildings by 40% in comparison to 2010, and is fuelling all city administration vehicles with electricity, hydrogen, or biofuels.. The constant evaluation and follow-up of the city's Plan is secured through the preparation of an annual report and meeting of various stakeholders for dialogue and benchmarking. In addition to that, three general evaluations of the plan would occur: in 2015-2016 to evaluate the period 2013-2016, in 2019-2020 to evaluate the period 2017-2020, and in 2025-2026 when the final evaluation of the plan will take place.
  • Population: 777,218 (city), 2,057,737 (metro) (2018)
  • Area: 178.46 km2 (68.90 sq mi)(city), 1,767.52 km2(682.44 sq mi)(metro)
  • Link: https://international.kk.dk/artikel/carbon-neutral-capital
Copenhagen, Denmark

Dardesheim, Germany

Dardesheim, Germany

  • Target: Energy self-sufficiency by becoming independent from fossil-fuel based energy sources.
  • Status: Achieved
  • RES: 32 wind turbines with a total wind power capacity of 68,9 MW, nine solar power plants, biomass-based heating systems, and household solar collectors.
  • Implementation: Dardesheim has pioneered the use of renewable energy sources in Germany since one of the first wind turbines was erected in Saxony-Anhalt in 1993. This windpark expanded in 1994 following an agreement with a wind turbine company. Today, the local hill of Druiberg is covered with 32 wind turbines with a total wind power capacity that is equivalent to about forty times the total annual electricity consumption of Dardesheim or 15 times the overall energy demand, including electricity, heating or cooling and fuel for transportation. By 2017, seven additional wind turbines and a battery storage system have been added to the system. The storage system works to temper the effects of varying wind conditions. Besides wind power, nine solar power plants also produce one third of Dardesheim’s electricity demand since 2005. In addition, household solar collectors on roofs provide warm water and there are several biomass-based heating systems in town. In 2005, two local car companies started to offer the exchange of diesel-fuel driven engines with biodiesel engines fuelled by domestically grown rapeseed oil. Near the town hall, a plug-in station for electric cars was constructed. The success of the town can be attributed to to the transparency accompanying the overall process. The bimonthly published info sheet ”Dardesheimer Windblatt” is delivered to every household free of charge, providing everyone with the latest developments on the Dardesheim energy project. The wind park regularly offers guided tours.
  • Population: 750 (2011)
  • Area: 0.952 km²
  • Link: https://www.powerengineeringint.com/articles/print/volume-16/issue-2/features/germany-focus-renewables/renewables-an-essential-part-of-germanyrsquos-future.html
Dardesheim, Germany

Del Mar, California, USA

Del Mar, California, USA

  • Target: 100% renewable electricity by 2035
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Solar energy
  • Implementation: Del Mar is a small coastal city in San Diego County, California. In June 2016, its City Council committed by vote to transition the community to 100% renewable electricity by 2035 as part of a municipal climate action plan. The plan includes an interim target of 50% renewable electricity by 2020. Del Mar's 100% renewable electricity goal is in line with the energy goals of neighbouring City of San Diego, as well as the state goal of 80% greenhouse gas emissions reductions below 1990 levels by 2050. This goal also aims to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions to at least 50 percent below the city's baseline 2012 values by 2035.

    To achieve 100% renewable electricity, the city is exploring the adoption of a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program with either local cities or San Diego County. CCA is a state law in California and several other US states that allow local governments in Investor Owned Utility (IOU) territories to aggregate their community's bulk buying power to procure electricity at best rates on the wholesale market or through direct contracts with power producers, and in turn sell it back to constituents. The IOUs continue to manage and charge fees for grid services. This method has been shown to help local communities procure higher shares of renewable electricity and offer it to their residents and commercial customers at a lower rate than their local IOU.

    The City of Del Mar aims to achieve 91% of their renewable electricity supply with a combination of utility scale procurement and distributed solar PV, and the rest using Renewable Energy Credits. Other strategies include encouraging the local IOU (SDG&E ) to achieve 100 percent renewable energy procurement by 2035, installing solar PV on new City Hall and other City facilities, with battery storage systems; introducing EV charging stations and replacing the municipal fleet with e-vehicles.
  • Population: 4,365 (2016)
  • Area: 1.78 sq mi (4.60 km2)
  • Link: https://www.delmar.ca.us/680/Go-Green-Del-Mar
Del Mar, California, USA

Denton, Texas, USA

Old Courthouse, Denton, Texas, USA

  • Target: 100% renewable energy
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Community and utility-scale solar installations and energy storage.
  • Implementation: The City of Denton was the second municipality in Texas to commit to transition to 100 percent renewable sources of energy. It began with the City Council revising its Renewable Denton Plan, to include the goal of producing enough energy from renewables to meet 100 percent of its electric needs from contracts with solar and wind developers by 2020. A copy of Denton’s ordinance and staff presentation on the energy plan can be seen here and here. By transitioning to renewable energy, the city aims to save people money on their bills, giving the impetus for city leaders and Denton Municipal Electric to dramatically reduce their reliance on  the Gibbons Creek coal plant, as well as ensuring their next renewable energy investments.
  • Population: 113,383 (2010)
  • Area: 89.316 sq mi (231.33 km2)
  • Link: https://www.cityofdenton.com/en-us/government/departments/denton-municipal-electric/renewable-energy
Old Courthouse, Denton, Texas, USA

Denver, Colorado, USA

Speer Boulevard, Denver, Colorado, USA

  • Target: 100% clean electricity city-wide by 2030 and 30% by 2020 for investor-owned utilities (state targets), 55% renewable energy by 2026 (electric utility - Xcel Energy target)
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Solar energy, electric mobility
  • Implementation: The City of Denver is teaming up with utility provider Xcel Energy to invest in a greener future for all. In a state historically dominated by coal and fracked gas, Colorado consumers are now demanding more sustainable energy. Xcel Colorado (Public Service Company of Colorado or PSCO) is laying out major investment plans for clean energy infrastructure. When Denver joined nine other Colorado communities in July 2018 in making the commitment to transition to 100% clean, renewable electricity by 2030, it came on the basis of a Climate Action Plan created in 2015 that pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by the year 2050. Under the leadership of Mayor Michael Hancock, the 80x50 Climate Action Plan would go beyond clean power. It would incorporate strategies for land use and development, home and business efficiency upgrades, and mass transit planning to meet the city’s 80% carbon reduction goal. The plan also includes provisions for a community solar program, a net-zero building code for new construction by 2035, and a fleet of 100% electric light-duty vehicles, taxis, and car shares by 2050.

    Reaching these goals will require strong strategic partnerships. Denver has received support from more than 50 nonprofits and businesses for its clean energy plans. Organisations include the Working Families Party, the Colorado Latino Forum, the Denver NAACP, the Democratic Party, and the Denver Labor Federation. The local utility, PSCO, has recently finalized encouraging agreements with Colorado communities. Given that Denver accounts for 25% of Xcel’s retail sales, the city has been able to act on community pressure urging the utility transition to clean energy. Xcel has since announced plans to replace two units at Colorado’s largest coal plant with a $2.5 billion investment in clean energy generation. The plan is expected to save more than $213 million, while reducing carbon emissions by 59%. By 2026, Xcel plans for 55% of the energy they generate in Colorado to come from renewable sources. As a model for the rest of the country, Colorado is the first state in which the renewable portfolio standard is set by public vote, rather than by legislation; its abundant wind and solar resources make the transition to clean energy both affordable and logical.
  • Population: 716,492 (2018)
  • Area: 154.97 sq mi (401.36 km2)
  • Link: https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/environmental-health/environmental-quality/climate.html
Speer Boulevard, Denver, Colorado, USA

Dobbiaco (Toblach), Italy

Dobbiaco, Italy

  • Target: 100% renewable energy
  • Status: Achieved
  • RES: Solar PV and thermal collectors, hydro power plant, biomass district heating plant and  biogas facility.
  • Implementation: The city of Dobbiaco is located 1,256 m above sea level, in the Pusteria Valley in the northern Italian region of Trentino Alto-Adige. It was awarded by the Italian Environment League the title of “Renewable Town” in 2009 and 2011, and was also included in the Res Champions League of 2011. In terms of electricity production, extensive energy supply has been achieved through solar PV panels with an installed capacity of 1,590 kW and a 1,783 kW mini-hydro power plant whose production capacity exceeds the electric needs of households of Dobbiaco. There are also 1,350 square meters of solar thermal collectors installed as well as a district heating network connected to two installations. One is an 18 MW thermal biomass plant and the other one is a 132 kW biogas facility. Together they produce more energy than the heating needs of Dobbiaco. The biomass district heating plant opened in 1995 and it is able to also satisfy the heat demand of the neighboring town of San Candido. The biomass used in this plant is composed of locally sourced wood chips derived from pruning residues, bark residues, and wood waste from sawmill and various factories. Thanks to this combination of technologies, Dobbiaco produces more electricity and thermal energy than that is consumed by households.
  • Population: 3,283 (2010)
  • Area: 126.6 km2 (48.9 sq mi)
  • Link: https://www.suedtirol.info/en/experience/sustainable-holiday/south-tyrol-backs-sustainability
Dobbiaco, Italy