The energy landscape is shaped by cities. 72% of the European population (EU28) lives in urban areas – defined as cities, towns and suburbs. Globally, cities account for about two-thirds of primary energy demand and 70% of total energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The energy and carbon footprint of urban areas will increase with urbanisation and the growing economic activity of urban citizens. The decarbonisation of cities and city districts presents an imperative and an obvious area of priority. Districts, in particular, have specific opportunities to drive the decarbonization efforts as they know best about their local needs and locally available infrastructure and resources.
A 100% renewable energy district makes optimal use of locally available renewable energy sources and waste heat. For historic reasons, cities and towns developed along rivers, lakes and seashores which provide access to environmental heat. All these sources make high and low-temperature renewable energy available, and
their usage is highly replicable because it is accessible right where it is needed. In order to use local sources, municipalities, energy utilities and the industry have to collaborate across sectors.
In the vast majority of urban areas, district energy is technically and economically more viable than individual-based solutions, and can be 100% decarbonised through the use of renewables (biomass, including residues, solar thermal and geothermal energy), waste and environmental heat, and fossil-free cogeneration. Fossil-fuel boilers need to be completely phased out.
The RHC 100% Renewable Energy Districts: 2050 Vision has been prepared by RHC ETIP project partners and includes 15 case studies of 100% RE Districts from all over Europe. Click here to download the document.
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