Alheim, Germany

Alheimerturm, Hessen, Germany

  • Target: 100% renewable electric supply by 2030, 100% renewable heating supply by 2050.
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Solar photovoltaics, solar thermal, biogas technology and hydropower.
  • Implementation: Alheim is a small town located in northern Hesse, Germany. Back in 1994, its municipal council enforced environmental impact guidelines which mandated that  all construction projects must be subjected to an environmental impact assessment. Ten years later, the town extended these guidelines to include a long-term target to power Alheim entirely from renewable energy sources. The intermediate goals included raising the current share of 75% of electricity supply to 100% until 2030. Similarly, while only 15% of heat is covered by renewable energy today, the aim is to achieve 100% renewable heating by 2050. Today, out of 12.2 Mio kWh produced from renewable energy, solar photovoltaic produces 6.9 Mio kWh, solar thermal energy 1.1 Mio kWh, biogas technology 4,1 Mio kWh and hydro 4.294 kWh. Alheim has profited greatly from the policy framework advancing renewable energy as it has boosted the local economy and created jobs in the region. Heat generated in biogas plants have been used for heating in industrial buildings, thus strengthening the local industry. Meanwhile, solar panels do not only produce energy but also provide shelter for organically farmed chicken on the fields. Alheim’s streets are illuminated with energy-efficient LED lighting and strict ecological guidelines for construction and renovations have been in place since 1994. Indeed, the advancement of renewable energy is part of a broader strategy to promote a lifestyle that is compatible with social and ecological ideals. Ever since Alheim joined energy transition revolution, children have been taught about renewable energy in the local schools and kindergardens.  Alheim council’s website features “Climate Protection To Go”  including tips on energy-efficient driving and cooking. One of the decisive factors for Alheim’s policy on renewable energy has been the political leadership of Mayor Georg Lüdtke who came into office in 1996 and has been committed to the idea ever since. Currently, Alheim is deepening its cooperation with the neighboring regions Bebra and Rotenburg, acting as a role model and strengthening the alliance for the transformation towards decentralized energy supply.
  • Population: 4,951 (2017)
  • Area: 63.83 km(24.64 sq mi)
  • Link: (In German) https://www.alheim.de/texte/seite.php?id=17304
Alheimerturm, Hessen, Germany

Aruba

Aruba

  • Target: Cover all electricity demand by 100% renewable sources by 2020.
  • Status: In progress - To date, 15.4% electricity generation is from renewable energy.
  • RES: 30-MW wind park, and waste-to-energy project generating electricity through biogas.
  • Implementation: The Caribbean island of Aruba in the Caribbean is an autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands located off the coast of Venezuela. Aruba's economy is based largely on tourism with nearly 1.5 million visitors per year, which has contributed to Aruba’s high population density with about 500 people per square kilometre (more than New York). In response, the Government of Aruba realised that the island’s economic development must shift in order to maintain and preserve the country's infrastructure and natural resources. In 2009, Aruba launched the islands first wind park. In 2011, the Government published its economic vision and policy plan with the title “The Green Gateway”. It includes plans to promote renewable energy on the island in order to secure and preserve its valuable but fragile natural resources. During the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012, the island announced it aim to cover its electricity demand by 100% renewable sources by 2020. In the same year, Aruba together with other Caribbean islands became member of the Carbon War Room’s Ten Island Challenge, an initiative launched at the Rio +20 Conference aiming for islands to shift towards 100% renewable energy. The benefits of becoming 100% renewable for Aruba include: reducing its heavy dependency on fossil fuel, thus making it less vulnerable to global oil price fluctuations, drastically reducing CO2 emissions, and preserving its natural environment.
  • Population: 104,822 (2016)
  • Area: 178.91 km2 (69.08 sq mi)
  • Link: http://www.utilitiesarubanv.com/main/wp-content/uploads/pdf/green-deck-aruba.pdf
Aruba

Bamberg, Germany

Bamberg, Germany

  • Target: Energy self-sufficient by exclusively relying on renewable energies, by 2035.
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Solar and wind-powered systems, block heating stations, woodchip heating systems, and electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Implementation: The city of Bamberg's strategy to produce energy independently is embedded in its climate change strategy and is integrated into the sustainable development of Bamberg. It has already financed a combination of solar and wind-powered systems, block heating stations as well as woodchip heating systems. In 2009, the Fraunhofer Institute analyzed the resource potential of the city and different scenarios were investigated to optimize the process of RE development. It laid the groundwork for finding the best energy models for the area. The plan would serve 210,000 people for both for electricity and heat. As a member of ”climate alliance”, the city cooperates with surrounding municipalities. The idea is that both the city and its region would benefit from the energy transition: the city has a reliable supply of renewable energy and the surrounding rural areas is the energy producer,  generating income, allowing the development of new business models, and well distributed profits among municipalities. In fact, the city of Bamberg would not have been able to achieve its RE goal if it wasn’t for the rural support, considering the limited urban space. The city involved the industry and engineering sectors in the planning process, as well as the participation of the local community, with processes being guided by the city government. In 2011, the Climate and Energy Agency Bamberg was established to serve as the office of the Climate Alliance Bamberg. In 2012, the city along with 31 municipalities formed the ,,Regionalwerke Bamberg GmbH’’ to combine strategic efforts. Energy consultancy and analysis tools for electricity and heat applications of private households were introduced and more than half of the towns in the area have set up electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Population: 77,179 (2017)
  • Area: 54.62 km2 (21.09 sq mi)
  • Link: https://www.detail-online.com/article/bamberg-is-switching-to-renewable-energy-14255/
Bamberg, Germany

Bamiyan, Afghanistan

Bamiyan, Afghanistan

  • Target: To supply power to remote communities.
  • Status: In progress - The Bamiyan Renewable Energy Program (BREP) developed a large-scale, solar photovoltaic (PV) mini-grid, and by 2017 began generating 1 MW of electricity to more than 3,500 businesses, homes and government offices.
  • RES: Solar PV with battery storage and diesel backup.  BREP uses a prepaid, pay-as-you-go model to collect revenue, with each house being equipped with a digital meter.
  • Implementation: The mini-grid was funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and built by a joint venture of two New Zealand companies, Sustainable Energy Services International (SESI) and NetCon. After construction, project developers transferred the system to Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), Afghanistan’s national utility that now owns and operates the system. SESI and NetCon helped DABS operate the system for the first year after installation.
  • Population: 100,000
  • Area: 35 km²
  • Link: https://www.usaid.gov/energy/mini-grids/case-studies/afghanistan-hydropower

 

Bamiyan, Afghanistan

Berkeley, California, USA

Berkeley, California, USA

  • Target: 100% carbon-free energy in electricity, transportation and buildings by 2030, 100% renewable energy by 2035, and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Renewable electricity procurement, solar and wind power
  • Implementation: The City of Berkeley is committed to 100% renewable energy, as a strategy to mitigate greenhouse emissions and reduce the impact of climate change. The goal followed legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown pledging 100 percent clean energy use in California by 2045 and the University of California committing to 100 percent clean electricity use by 2025 and reducing energy use by 2 percent each year through its Carbon Neutrality Initiative.
    The city instituted the Berkeley Climate Action Plan, with the vision to reach net-zero energy use for all buildings by 2050 by requiring building owners to assess their energy use, and prioritize sustainable forms of transportation, such as walking, cycling and public transportation. The city also participates Community Choice Energy program, which allows local governments to buy and sell energy — an option that is often cleaner and cheaper for local residents. Berkeley has joined an initiative providing greater access to energy-efficient cars and infrastructure at a lower cost. With other Bay Area cities, the city calls for the end coal shipments. Source: dailycal.org
  • Population:  121,363 (2019)
  • Area:  17.66 sq mi (45.73 km2)
  • Link: Recommendations for a Fossil-Fuel Free Berkeley
Berkeley, California, USA

Blacksburg, Virginia, USA

Blacksburg, Virginia, USA

  • Target: 100% electricity community-wide by 2050
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Solar power
  • Implementation: Blacksburg City Council in Virginia is transitioning to 100% renewable electricity community-wide by 2050 through a series of “solarize” campaigns. It launched the Solarize Blacksburg program to encourage more city residents to go solar by addressing  the financial and logistical barriers to installing solar power. The city worked with installers to lower the costs of solar arrays by 16 percent. A neighborhood collective purchasing program was established for the city's communities. Unlike other solarize models which usually start with a neighborhood or team of neighbors getting together to form a co-op, and then vet and choose a contractor that will perform all of the solar installations, the Solarize Blacksburg model involved finding the contractors upfront, getting the companies to agree on specific pricing options and technical specifications, and then letting the community drive the demand. The model succeeded in quadrupling residential solar within 6 months. Despite it being home to Virginia Tech with 70 percent renter-occupied housing, and unfavourable state energy policies for solar, the model worked well. The follow-up program Solarize Montgomery was also very successful, with more than 800 subscribers.The two solarize programs were implemented as one-time programs to avoid the impression that the programs were ongoing which could have resulted in potential participants postponing the decision to sign up. In fact, after a program ended, the adoption of solar continued. Systems already installed in the community encouraged more residents to install solar power. In Montgomery County, solar use grew by 273 percent within three years. Since 2015, residential solar has more than doubled across the state of Virginia, and at least 25 other Virginia communities have created their own solarize programs. Source: governing.com
  • Population:  44,233 (2019)
  • Area:  19.77 sq mi (51.20 km2)
  • Link: 100% Renewables Resolution
Blacksburg, Virginia, USA

Boise, Idaho, USA

Boise, Idaho, USA

  • Target: 100% renewable electricity community-wide by 2035
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Hydropower, solar, and geothermal energy
  • Implementation: Boise City Council in Idaho is committed to a 100% renewable electricity and has adopted the "Boise's Energy Future" plan to reach this goal. It builds on an earlier municipal target set by its mayor David Bieter of 100 percent clean electricity for city-owned buildings by 2030, as well as the goal set by Idaho Power, the electricity utility for the City of Boise 100 percent clean energy system-wide by 2045. The Boise’s Energy Future plan was developed over a year by the city with community organizations and businesses including local utilities. It involved extensive public outreach, including a citywide survey in partnership with Boise State University. The survey revealed that almost 80 percent of citizens either strongly or somewhat agree with the city’s goals to reduce energy use and transition to clean energy. For the city, it was imperative that the 100 percent target emphasises "affordability and equity in access to energy efficiency and clean energy for all residents.” Local renewable energy and technology would help grow its economy, creating good jobs, afford better energy choices for users, and improve public health.
    The city's plan lists several cost-effective electricity strategies. It includes supporting new electricity generation, increasing consumer participation in efficiency programs and Green Power Program, encouraging rooftop and community solar installation, and procuring green power for municipal buildings. Source: Boise's Energy Future Plan
  • Population:  228,959 (2019)
  • Area:  84.73 sq mi (219.45 km2)
  • Link: Boise Energy Plan
Boise, Idaho, USA
  • © Pinpals

Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands

Bonaire

  • Target: 100% of renewable energy in the electrical system.
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Hybrid wind-diesel power plant
  • Implementation: The Caribbean island of Bonaire is located 80km north of the Venezuelan coast. Its energy transition began in 2004 after the island’s sole diesel power plant was destroyed by a fire. Instead of re-building it, the government decided to convert Bonaire’s electricity system to one based on 100% renewable energy sources. The decision was driven by several aspects. Bonaire has close ties to Europe (being a special municipality of The Netherlands) where the share of renewable sources of electricity has been increasingly expanding. Financial support for the transition would come from Dutch Rabobank. The complete destruction of the old electric system presented an opportunity to build something new and innovative. So, while rented diesel generators served as a temporary power supply, the Bonaire government and the local utility closely collaborated in the planning of the energy transition. In 2007, the consortium “EcoPower Bonaire BV” signed the contract with the government-owned Water and Energy Company Bonaire (WEB) to construct a new green energy system, including wind power and biodiesel from algae. In August 2010, the world’s largest hybrid wind-diesel power plant went online. 12 wind turbines with a total wind power capacity of 11MW constituted the first element of Bonaire’s new power generation system. The wind turbines only contributes around 33% to the annual required electricity demand, but at times of peak wind the turbines can cover about 90% of the demand. A 6MWh battery storage for surplus electricity makes the overall system more reliable as it is capable of balancing power fluctuations in times of low wind. When the wind drops the battery provides 3MW for two minutes, which allows enough time to start the 14MW diesel power plant. The diesel generators run with heavy fuel oil, light fuel oil and biodiesel. The next step for Bonaire is the large-scale production of biodiesel from algae, which is currently under development. Besides decreasing the reliance on fuel imports and the impacts of fuel price volatility, the economic benefit of Bonaire’s renewable energy system is expected to return US$15 million annually, from a total investment of $55-60 million, which will be partly compensated by carbon credits.
  • Population: 18,905 (2015)
  • Area: 294 km2 (114 sq mi)
  • Link: https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2015/01/a-caribbean-island-says-goodbye-diesel-and-hello-100-percent-renewable-electricity.html
Bonaire

Boulder, Colorado, USA

Boulder, Colorado, USA

  • Target: 100% renewable electricity community wide by 2030, interim goal of 40% renewable electricity/50 MW local installations by 2020
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Solar energy
  • Implementation: Boulder is a small city located in the state of Colorado Rocky Mountains. In December 2016, the City Council voted to commit the City to 80% reduction in community greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2050, 100% renewable electricity by 2030, and 80% reduction in organization greenhouse gas emissions below 2008 levels by 2030. At the time of the plan's adoption, 99% of Boulder's energy for electricity, heating, and transportation came from burning fossil fuels. Roughly half of the City's GHG emissions were coming from electricity. Approximately 22% of electricity was being generated by renewables, with approximately 30 MW of local renewable power generation installed. More than half of this was local solar installations.

    By 2030, an all renewable electricity system aims to include 100 MW of local renewables, which will increase to 175 MW by 2050. This increase signals the City's strategy in moving towards 80% electrification. Electric vehicles and heat pumps for example will replace equipment formerly supplied by natural gas, and will demand greater electricity supply.

    To transition to all renewable electricity, Boulder's plan relies on a three part strategy. First is to reduce energy consumption. City-funded pilot projects aim to integrate efficiency with on-site generation and natural gas and petroleum replacement strategies. The City plans to expand demand side management services through the implementation of a municipal utility in lieu of the historic investor owned utility. To lower costs of owning on-site solar, the City plans to establish collective purchase agreements that allow groups to own solar projects. This can help reduce the overall demand for the municipal utility to supply electricity and scale up renewable energy procurement or installation. Second is to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy. The City plan to analyse renewable generation and storage opportunities to replace fossil generation, as well as strategies for replacing natural gas and petroleum-based transportation. Third is to re-design critical community infrastructure and operations through mapping and strengthening resiliency and protection against power failure.
  • Population: 108,090 (2016)
  • Area: 25.85 sq mi (66.95 km2)
  • Link: https://bouldercolorado.gov/energy-future
Boulder, Colorado, USA

Breckenridge, Colorado, USA

Breckenridge, Colorado, USA

  • Target: 100% renewable energy in municipal operations by 2025, and 100% renewable electricity community-wide by 2035.
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Community solar gardens
  • Implementation: The town of Breckenridge, Colorado aims to power its municipal operations entirely with solar energy by implementing five community solar gardens. It will achieve this based on the latest community solar gardens law (HB 19-1003) adopted by the state of Colorado, which has allowed dispersed communities to be connected to a renewable energy electric grid, by expanding the concept of community solar gardens, and the concept of “community.” Four of the solar gardens will be in Logan County, in the state’s northeastern corner, and another along Interstate 70 near the town of New Castle. The community solar concept pioneered by the state in 2010 is a model that has been adopted by other states such as Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, and Minnesota.
    Initial efforts in local solar development in Colorado did not work due to land costs, jurisdiction (more than 80% of Summit County were federal lands), ownership (remainder were private), and topography (land too forested or steep). A sizeable 2 MW community solar garden required at least 10 acres, which was a challenge for the high-priced mountain resort areas and Boulder County. The previous law also limited subscriptions. Community solar gardens had to be within the same county or an adjacent county to be a subscriber. This meant subscriptions by residents, businesses, and organizations in Denver for community solar were precluded.
    The Community Solar Gardens Modernization Act removed the adjacency requirements and stipulated that the solar garden must only be within the service territory of the utility serving the subscriber. The previous maximum of 2 MW was also increased to 5 MW allowing greater flexibility for solar developers and attracting larger subscribers such as school districts.
    Calls in recent years have been made to accelerate the modernisation of Colorado's electrical grid through at least one bill introduced by the state. This is in order to build new community solar gardens in rural areas to meet urban demands.
    The town of Breckenridge expects to save over $700,000 in energy costs through a 20-year contract with little upfront capital costs. Besides decarbonising the electricity supply to municipal buildings, it is overseeing Alta Verde, an 80-unit affordable housing project with a 500-kW on-site solar array. The town aims for all new construction to be net zero. Source: mountaintownnews.net
Breckenridge, Colorado, USA
  • © David Mark