Having an ambitious vision of a desirable future and setting a course towards 100% renewable energy encourages and facilitates the engagement of the various local stakeholders and opens up new opportunities. It is important that long-term planning is given its rightful place in municipal action. Obviously, this long-term course must not be used to postpone measures aimed at reducing energy use and developing renewable energy. On the contrary, its purpose is to trigger a paradigm change whilst not losing sight of the desired objective.
To be credible, this political message must be backed up with “no-regret” short-term measures and medium-term planning documents defining interim targets, for example a Territorial Climate, Air and Energy Plan or an energy masterplan. This entails adding a foresight dimension to one of these tools by considering a 2050 time horizon, a 100% renewable energy target and, therefore, a territorial area extending beyond the city’s boundaries.
Although cities already carry out planning exercises, covering 100% of a territory’s energy needs with renewables requires going much further.
In February 2016, Bordeaux Métropole adopted the objective of becoming one of the first French “Positive Energy” metropolitan areas by 2050. This will be achieved by reducing energy use, especially in the transport and residential sectors, and by producing renewable energy in the metropolitan area and in neighbouring areas. This objective is part of a wider strategy aimed at decentralising, developing economic activities and producing food and energy locally. Interim targets will be defined in the Territorial Climate, Air and Energy Plan and energy masterplan. This long-term objective is associated with immediate, measures like rolling out solar mapping to the whole metropolitan area or the development of wood biomass. As regards the latter, the Metropolitan Council is studying the possibility of signing long-term wood supply agreements with rural communities. Although trust may sometimes need consolidating between urban and rural areas, the main challenge will be to reconcile the interests of the various parties and be able to agree terms on cross-sectoral issues like land and biomass uses, biodiversity conservation and heat islands.
The City of Grenoble has embarked on a 100% renewable energy path, leading to the development of ambitious projects, in particular as regards energy efficiency. The Local Urban Plan, for example, stipulates that the performance of new buildings must be 20% higher than the current thermal regulation requirements. 1,000 housing units are concerned by this measure, 18 months after it came into force in early 2015. The policy in favour of renewable energy reflects the city’s desire to make Grenoble resource-efficient by developing district heating, wood biomass and waste energy recovery. Grenoble is also investing in renewable energy production projects and is now a shareholder of SAS EnergY Citoyennes, a community energy initiative. It is to be noted that GEG, a local public company whose main shareholder is the municipality of Grenoble, produces, distributes and supplies electricity and gas to local residents. In December 2015, this semi-public company adopted a plan for investment worth 100 million euro by 2020 for renewable energy generation. This will triple the production of GEG’s sectors (hydropower, wind power, PV solar energy and biogas) from 120 GWh currently to 300 GWh by 2020.
Read the full recommendation and discover how Saint-Etienne Métropole – Pilat Regional Nature Park hopes reach 70% renewables by 2050 or which scenario is planned by the Région Occitanie to become energy positive by 2050.
|Cities heading towards 100% renewable energy – Food for thought and action|
This report provides guidance and solutions to cities and metropolitan areas anxious to embark on a 100% renewable energy path. It is based on the knowledge and experience of the authors’ networks, as well as on around 30 interviews of councillors and city employees from about fifteen French local governments. It also features 5 European pioneers: Barcelona, Frankfurt, Frederikshavn, Geneva and Malmö.
Download: PDF – 7.8 Mb
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January 12, 2017