More than 100 cities now get the majority of their electricity from renewable sources, according to a new report from CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), an environmentally-oriented nonprofit. In a sign that cities are increasingly leading the clean energy transition, this number is more than double the 40 cities that were powered by at least 70 percent clean energy in 2015.
Taken from an assessment of nearly 600 global cities, the renewable front-runners include popular destinations like Quito, Ecuador, and Seattle, Washington, as well as lesser-known spots like Inje, South Korea, and Foumban, Cameroon. Over 40 cities are currently operating on 100 percent renewable electricity, including Burlington, Vermont.
Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said in a statement that the city is proud to be the first in the U.S. to get all its power renewably.
“Through our diverse mix of biomass, hydro, wind, and solar, we have seen first-hand that renewable energy boosts our local economy and creates a healthier place to work, live, and raise a family,” she said.
While Burlington may be the first to reach the 100 percent mark, 58 U.S. cities and towns have committed to transition to 100 percent clean energy. These cities range from major urban hubs like Atlanta to smaller communities like Denton, Texas.
According to the report, some 275 cities are getting electricity from hydropower, 189 from wind, and 184 from solar. The more than 7,000 mayors that have signed up to the The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy have helped increase the incentives to transition to clean energy.
Kyra Appleby, Director of Cities for CDP, said in a statement that their data shows serious commitment and ambition from cities that have joined the agenda, especially since Trump announced his intention to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement last June. That unilateral action gave rise to the #WeAreStillIn movement a few days later. Over the ensuing nine months, dozens of cities, along with states, businesses, universities, and nonprofits, have signed up to remain committed to the Paris Agreement’s targets even if the Trump administration pulls out.
In December, more than two dozen mayors, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who are part of We Are Still In signed the first-of-its kind “Chicago Charter” at the North American Climate Summit. The Charter represents more than 67 cities and commits them to achieving emissions reductions and moving forward with climate action in the face of Trump’s opposition.
“The Chicago Climate Charter represents tens of million residents who are committed to confronting climate change head-on,” Emanuel said at the signing. “Even as Washington fails to act, cities have the power and will to take decisive action to protect our planet and the health and safety of our residents.”