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27.02.2019

More Than 100 American Cities Charge Toward a Renewable Future

Cities across America look to turn ambitious renewables commitments into real action—and support is on its way.

American cities know that the future is renewable: more than 100 cities across the United States have made commitments to increase their use of renewable energy. But with these commitments come challenges.

To help U.S. cities meet—or beat—their renewable energy goals, the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), World Resources Institute (WRI), and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) today kicked off a joint effort to help cities procure over 2.8 gigawatts of renewable capacity—more than the total existing solar capacity in Nevada, Florida or Texas.

The new program, called the American Cities Climate Challenge Renewables Accelerator (Renewables Accelerator), will provide powerful resources for cities across America to achieve their renewable goals, with the help of RMI's and WRI's technical support and expertise. The program will help cities procure large-scale, off-site renewable energy; deploy renewables locally; and navigate regulatory, policy and institutional barriers by engaging with utilities and policymakers.

"The role cities must play in spurring demand for renewable energy and accelerating the clean energy transition has never been more important," said Antha N. Williams, Head of Environmental Programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies. "We are excited to work with some of America's most ambitious cities to deepen their renewable procurement efforts, tackle climate change and ultimately deliver for their communities."

The effort will support both the 25 winning cities selected for Bloomberg Philanthropies' American Cities Climate Challenge and make assistance available to the nearly 200 USDN members seeking to power their communities with low-carbon renewable energy. This week, representatives from more than two dozen cities and communities across the U.S. are meeting in Washington to participate in an in-person training on renewables procurement approaches for large-scale, off-site clean energy projects.

Minneapolis, MN, a Climate Challenge winner and Renewables Accelerator participant, is evaluating renewable procurement options as it develops a blueprint to power its entire community with 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.

"Many of the largest cities in the U.S. are working through these issues at the same time," said Kim Havey, Director of the City of Minneapolis' Division of Sustainability. "Minneapolis is excited to work with the Renewables Accelerator to come up with innovative solutions that allow us and Xcel Energy, our utility, to work together on decarbonization, and pave the way for other cities to follow suit."

Pittsburgh, PA, another Climate Challenge winner and Renewables Accelerator participant, hopes to encourage its whole region to move toward clean electricity by working with the Western Pennsylvania Energy Consortium (WPEC), which allows Pittsburgh to purchase energy on the wholesale market.

"Through WPEC, we've created the opportunity to influence how we source our electricity—the next step is legally enabling this group to directly procure or invest in large-scale clean energy projects," said Grant Ervin, Chief Resilience Officer of the City of Pittsburgh. "With assistance from the Renewables Accelerator, we hope to make that goal a reality and enter into agreements that both have positive impacts locally and help Pittsburgh reach our 100 percent renewable energy commitment."

Cities across America are joining forces with the Renewables Accelerator to achieve their renewables goals — and the support and resources the Accelerator provides are available for even more cities. To inquire about partnering with the Renewables Accelerator, please contact Ali Rotatori (arotatori@rmi.org) or Celina Bonugli (celina.bonugli@wri.org).

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Source   WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUT 2019

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