Oxford a global leader in renewable cities

23 March 2021

Oxford is one of 18 cities globally to be highlighted for its climate leadership in the latest REN21 Renewables in Cities Global Status Report. The 2021 edition of the report, the only stocktaking of cities’ energy transition efforts worldwide, shows that one billion people live in cities with a renewable energy target or policy.

As United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres stated, “Cities are where the climate battle will largely be won or lost.” Cities are high-impact areas: they are home to more than 55% of the global population and account for around three-quarters of global final energy consumption.

In January 2019, Oxford City Council declared a climate emergency in Oxford and was the first UK local authority to establish a Citizens’ Assembly to help address the issue of climate change, and consider the measures that should be taken in Oxford. As a result, Oxford aims to become a net-zero carbon emitter by 2040, a full decade ahead of the UK national target. In addition, Oxford City Council pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in its own operations by 2030.

A critical factor for the success of cities’ climate strategies is to rapidly replace fossil fuels with renewable energy in heating and cooling as well as in transport. These sectors are responsible for the biggest share of global emissions, and they are best addressed at the local level.

Energy Superhub Oxford is a key part of Oxford City Council’s strategy to decarbonise energy in transport and heat and enable more of its citizens’ lives to be powered by low carbon electricity. The project will showcase a powerful network of rapid electric vehicle (EV) charging, hybrid battery energy storage, low carbon heating, and smart energy management, helping to reduce the city’s carbon emissions by 10,000 tonnes a year.

Redbridge Park & Ride, to the south of the city, will be home to one of the UK’s largest public EV charging hubs, with up to 50 charging bays offering a range of charging speeds, from a few minutes to a few hours. This flagship site will help more people to drive electric, supporting the Council’s planned Zero Emission Zone, which will be piloted from August 2021.

The report found that UK cities are frontrunners in setting climate and energy targets. 106 UK cities had renewable energy targets and/or policies, representing around 8% of the 1,300 cities globally. This covers 40.6 million people, and 73% of the urban population in the UK.

View Oxford’s case study as part of the Renewables in Cities 2021 Global Status Report.

Renewables in Cities Global Status Report

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