Vancouver, Canada, has become the latest city to commit to running on 100 percent renewable energy. Following a City Council vote on March 26 in favor of making the switch, the city formally announced its commitment late last week at the ICLEI World Conference 2015 in Seoul, South Korea. Vancouver now joins a list of more than 50 cities worldwide that have pledged to run on 100 percent renewable energy, not only for their electricity needs, but for heating and cooling as well.
Currently, 32 percent of Vancouver’s energy needs come from renewable sources. Electricity alone is as high as 90 percent renewably-sourced, but heating, cooling and transportation drag the figure down. Vancouver City Council’s motion discussed 100 percent renewable sources for electricity, heating and cooling, but reports suggest that council staff have been tasked with investigating transport as well. Council staff have been given until several months to report back with a workable timeline for implementation. It is anticipated that the target date will be around 2030 to 2035.
The motion was initially put forward by Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, pictured above. In a statement the Mayor said: “Cities around the world must show continued leadership to meet the urgent challenge of climate change, and the most impactful change we can make is a shift toward 100 percent of our energy being derived from renewable sources. The future of Vancouver’s economy and livability will depend on our ability to confront and adapt to climate change, and moving toward renewable energy is another way that Vancouver is working to become the greenest city in the world.”
Within the wording of the motion it was noted that climate change adaptation costs for Metro Vancouver were estimated at CAN$9.5 billion at a minimum, making the argument in favor of the shift economically compelling. As part of the motion it was also resolved that “Vancouver advocate to regional, provincial and national governments to support an international agreement that commits to 100 percent renewable energy sources.” With some other Canadian provinces and the country’s Federal Government firmly committed to fossil fuel extraction that should make for a few interesting conversations.