Considering the fact that about half of the world’s population now lives in an urban environment and produces about 70% of the world’s energy-related CO2 emissions, it is only logical that the development of renewable energy should be prioritised in cities and towns. Using the immediate environment and locally available resources, such as waste or heat from buildings, ensures that the schemes being implemented do not rely on costly national or international involvement. This also allows for local governments to improve local businesses and employment.
However, this is no easy task, as Cities, Towns and Renewable Energy: Yes In My Front Yard illustrates. Despite the fact that many encouraging initiatives exist in urban environments of widely varying sizes and development levels–from a megalopolis like Tokyo to a small community like Gussing, Austria–these still affect a relatively small proportion of the world’s cities.
Based on several case studies, this book encourages further progress by emphasising the importance of information and adequate planning. Front yards may not fill up with solar panels or wind turbines, but these efforts should nonetheless help improve attitudes towards renewable energy schemes and increase their effectiveness too.
©OECD Observer No 276/277, December 2009-January 2010