American Cities Climate Challenge Renewables Accelerator (ACCCRA) helps cities reach energy goals

An initiative known as the American Cities Climate Challenge Renewables Accelerator (ACCCRA) is working to help US cities reach their renewable energy goals. The program is backed by the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge, the Rocky Mountain Institute, the World Resources Institute, and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network.

ACCCRA will help cities procure and deploy large-scale, off-site renewable energy and navigate any regulations and laws that might impede progress.

And it comes complete with huge goals. According to Smart Cities Dive, “The 2.8 gigawatts of renewable capacity it aims to build is more than the existing solar capacity in Nevada, Florida or Texas, so cities will need to be creative in their procurement and deployment strategies.”

Cities Taking Charge

New York and Pittsburgh are just two cities setting lofty renewable energy goals. In 2018, Pittsburgh held its place as the North American city with the most buildings formally committed to deep reductions in energy use, water consumption and transportation emissions, as well as to improvements to indoor air quality.

Pittsburgh leads all 22 established 2030 Districts in the world with 83 million square feet committed. The Pittsburgh 2030 District, an initiative that supports building owners and managers as they strive toward 50% reductions in energy use, water consumption and transportation emissions by 2030, represents 506 buildings. The buildings represent a variety of sectors, including office towers, hospitals, multifamily residential buildings, universities, professional sports facilities and museums.

In 2017, 2030 District Property Partners avoided 1.1 billion kBtu of energy and nearly doubled their water use reduction, leading to a combined $26.7 million dollars in savings. The District has collectively saved $85.4 million in energy and water costs since 2012, while avoiding 434,400 metric tons of CO2.

And this year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo included $1.2 billion for renewable energy projects in the 2019 Executive Budget for the state. The investment is part of a broader multibillion-dollar Green New Deal aimed at completely eliminating the state’s carbon footprint.

Cuomo’s agenda calls for 100% carbon-free power by 2040, $1.5 billion to be invested in competitive awards that support 20 large-scale solar, wind, and energy storage projects across upstate New York, and as much as $200 million in port infrastructure to match private sector investment in regional development of offshore wind.

The governor says that the ramp-up of renewables under his Green New Deal will include:

  • Quadrupling New York’s offshore wind target to 9,000 megawatts by 2035, up from 2,400 megawatts by 2030
  • Doubling distributed solar deployment to 6,000 megawatts by 2025, up from 3,000 megawatts by 2023
  • More than doubling new large-scale land-based wind and solar resources through the Clean Energy Standard
  • Maximizing the contributions and potential of New York’s existing renewable resources
  • Deploying 3,000 megawatts of energy storage by 2030, up from 1,500 megawatts by 2025

The 4th Annual Environmental Leader & Energy Manager Conference takes place May 13 – 15, 2019 in Denver. Learn more here.