Local governments have the power to influence the energy choices of their citizens. Many cities and towns have already encouraged energy efficiency measures. Even so, as demand for energy services continues to grow, the energy infrastructure that every city and town depends on will need to be expanded, upgraded or replaced. This provides the opportunity to increase the deployment of renewable energy technologies and decentralised energy systems, and hence gain the multi-benefits of increased energy security, climate change mitigation and sustainable development, but also the social benefits of reduced air pollution, such as improved health and employment.
Many combinations of policies have been employed to stimulate local renewable energy development. These policies include: local governance by authority; providing resources; enabling private actors; leading by example; allowing self-governance. Mega-city mayors, down to small-town officials, have successfully introduced such policies, although these vary with location, local resources and population. Cities, Towns and Renewable Energy – "Yes In My Front Yard" includes several case studies chosen to illustrate how enhanced deployment of renewable energy projects can result, regardless of a community’s size or location.
The goals of this report are to inspire city stakeholders by showing how renewable energy systems can benefit citizens and businesses, assist national governments to better appreciate the role that local municipalities might play in meeting national and international objectives, and help accelerate the necessary transition to a sustainable energy future.