Mayors from cities across the U.S. are stepping up and committing to broad and inspirational action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonize local energy systems. This leadership is especially critical given lack of federal climate action, but translating a mayoral commitment to reality can be a challenge.
City staff face many hurdles when attempting to transition to renewable energy quickly. Chief among them is the challenge of working within complex market and regulatory frameworks that vary from state to state and can limit the options for purchasing renewable energy. Once cities identify which renewable options are available to them, they must then consider city and community specific priorities---for example, how renewables align with workforce development and resilience initiatives. Finally, cities must navigate political and financial challenges, such as financing the upfront cost of installing on-site solar, negotiating contract duration and ensuring that renewable energy access and benefits are spread equitably across the community.
Here are a few creative ways that cities are transitioning to renewable energy and setting examples for others to follow.