C40 Cities is teaming up with Google to launch the 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy for Cities programme. This ground-breaking effort will let cities all over the world explore the idea of carbon-free energy (CFE) available 24 hours a day, expedite the decarbonization of local electrical systems, and give their citizens access to the advantages of the switch to clean energy.
Cities are crucial to the worldwide energy transition: Urban regions account for more than two-thirds of the world’s energy consumption and more than 70% of its carbon emissions. More than half of the world’s population lives in cities. Cities all across the world must quickly decarbonize their energy consumption in order to meet their own climate targets, ensure the health and resilience of their populations, and reap the benefits of clean energy for the economy and employment.
The goal of 24/7 CFE is to generate all kilowatt-hours of power from carbon-free sources, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Through the 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy for Cities program of C40, cities will be supported in their efforts to take the lead in the energy transition by developing and putting into practice high-impact strategies, practices, and technologies. Initial trial cities include Paris, London, and Copenhagen. In addition to continuing to take part in the C40 Renewable Energy Accelerator, each city will endeavor to address the major issues raised in a recent C40 white paper on 24/7 CFE for cities. Based on the company’s experience pursuing a 24/7 CFE goal, including data and important legislative and market reforms, Google will offer each partner city its expertise.
The Mayor of London and C40 Chair, Sadiq Khan, stated: “When it comes to tackling the climate emergency, I’m determined to ensure that London continues to take bold action. As many national governments around the world dither, cities have a responsibility to act and to show what’s possible. We are the doers, not the delayers.
“The main cause of the climate emergency is fossil fuels, so I’m calling on cities around the world to join London and commit to rapidly phasing out their use. This partnership with Google is another crucial step in phasing out fossil fuels, reducing carbon emissions and building a better, greener London for everyone.”
Copenhagen is leading the energy revolution, according to Sophie Haestorp Andersen, the city’s Lord Mayor: “Copenhagen is at the forefront of the energy transition. Decarbonising how we consume and produce energy is a critical priority in our city. We are rapidly deploying wind turbines, solar panels, clean district energy systems and energy efficiency measures in Copenhagen to phase out fossil fuels as soon as possible. This new partnership between C40 and Google will enable us to advance our energy procurement and use clean energy at peak hours. Ultimately this will enable running our municipal operations on clean energy sources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – setting a path for others to follow.”
Caroline Golin, Global Head of Energy Market Development and Policy at Google, explained: “At Google, we set the goal of operating on 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030 both to decarbonise our own operations and to accelerate the decarbonisation of electricity grids globally. We’ve always known that we cannot achieve this goal alone, and we believe cities have a critical role to play in driving the systems-level changes that are needed to deliver a carbon-free energy future. We look forward to working with the cities involved in today’s announcement to implement the principles of 24/7 carbon-free energy, which have been shown to enable deeper and more rapid electricity-related carbon reductions than other approaches.”
“C40 cities are showing once again that they are doers, not delayers. By embracing innovation and partnership, they are not only helping to explore the 24/7 carbon-free energy concept but they are accelerating the energy transition, phasing out expensive and volatile fossil fuels that are the root of the energy costs crisis,” stated C40 Executive Director Mark Watts.
Each initial pilot will concentrate on a different issue related to reducing the carbon footprint of urban electricity use, such as time-matched clean energy procurement for municipal operations, scheduling energy use during peak solar and wind hours, and boosting local clean energy through mini-grids and battery storage. Cities will investigate market and policy changes that increase access to clean energy and make sure that locals get the rewards of the clean energy transition in terms of economics, employment, and health across all of the pilot projects.
Since the UN Energy Compact was introduced in September 2021 and numerous towns, including Des Moines, Iowa, and Ithaca, New York, as well as nations like Iceland and Scotland, committed to 24/7 CFE targets, 24/7 CFE has gained momentum. The advantages of a 24/7 CFE strategy are obvious: According to a study published by the Technical University of Berlin with funding from Google, hourly matching of CFE decreases carbon emissions much more than purchasing renewable energy to match annual energy needs. Creating these collaborations between the public and commercial sectors is essential.
The support Google is providing for this program is a part of a larger commitment to accelerate decarbonization within and outside of its own operations, which includes assisting more than 500 cities and local governments in reducing their combined annual carbon emissions by 1 gigaton (or 1 billion tons) by 2030. It builds on Google’s long history of working with cities to improve urban sustainability through cutting-edge tools like its artificial intelligence (AI) tool, which analyzes traffic patterns at intersections and generates recommendations for city traffic engineers to optimize the timing of light changes to reduce stop-and-go traffic, and its Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE), which provides extensive data sources and modeling capabilities for cities and regions to analyze their emissi A large number of cities around the world have signed up to use EIE’s data, including the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, C40, and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability.