Setting renewable energy targets is an important component of cities’ efforts to boost deployment of renewables. However, setting the right level of targets relies on good understanding of the availability of renewable energy resources, among other key factors. IRENA’s analysis of targets set at the city level in relation to both locally available renewable energy resources and renewable power plants sited near cities reveals that:  

  • A growing number of cities have set renewable energy targets, but they are concentrated in Europe and North America, areas that have higher economic wealth and temperate-to-cold climates. Globally, more than 80% of the cities that have set a renewable energy target (671 cities in total) are in Europe and North America. Meanwhile, cities in Asia and Africa are falling behind in renewable energy target setting, even as their energy demand is expected to grow.
  • Cities with renewable energy targets fall most commonly in the population range of 100 000 to 500 000 inhabitants. The majority of large and mega cities that have set renewable energy targets have pursued only a modest share of renewables in their energy mix.
  • Hydropower, bioenergy and waste-to-energy already play a clear role in helping cities achieve their renewable energy targets and in decarbonising the energy mix. The use of solar and geothermal energy in cities is rising – although huge potential remains untapped – while the ability to harness wind power within cities is progressing but remains marginal.