District Energy Initiative

Accelerating the uptake of energy efficiency and renewable energy in the global energy mix is the single biggest contribution to keep global temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsius (°C) and to reap the multiple benefits of an inclusive green economy. Cities account for over 70 percent of global energy use and, 40 to 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. In several cities, heating and cooling can account for up to half of local energy consumption. Any solution for the climate and energy transition must explicitly address sustainable urban heating and cooling, as well as electricity. One of the least-cost and most efficient solutions in reducing emissions and primary energy demand is the development of modern (climate-resilient and low-carbon) district energy in cities. To facilitate this energy transition, the United Nations Environment Programme launched the Global District Energy in Cities Initiative at the New York Climate Summit in September 2014, as the implementing mechanism for the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) District Energy Accelerator.
The Global District Energy in Cities Initiative is supporting national and municipal governments in their efforts to develop, retrofit or scale up district energy systems, with backing from international and financial partners and the private sector. The Initiative is bringing together cities, academia, technology providers and financial institutions in a joint ambition to build the necessary capacity and transfer of know-how while engaging all stakeholders and reducing emissions. Twinning between cities – matching champion ones with learned ones is a key component of the Global District Energy in Cities Initiative to scale up lessons learned and best practices.
The Initiative has already signed up many cities and is continuously signing up new champion cities and learning cities that are exchanging best practice and learning through the Initiative’s activities. Furthermore, the Initiative has partnered with leading private sector actors, as well as industry associations that commit to contributing technical expertise to the Initiative’s activities. City networks such as ICLEI and C40 help the Initiative connect with cities globally and the Initiative also receives significant support from intergovernmental and government organisations such as UN-Habitat, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

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Sectors: District energy, Renewables

Country / Region: Global

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Knowledge Object: Web Resource