city lights

Climate Solutions: Energy

Cities and states are adopting policies to encourage energy efficiency and increase the use of renewable energy.

City mandates to reduce greenhouse gas emissions emphasize energy efficiency, especially in buildings, and encourage increased use of renewable energy.

States are pursuing their own paths toward these same goals. Ten states – home to more than a quarter of the U.S. population – have a price on carbon, and many others promote efficiency, renewable energy, a more modern electricity grid, and electric and alternatively fueled vehicles.

C2ES is working at the city and state levels to study and encourage policies that can contribute to achieving the U.S. goal under the Paris Agreement of a 26-28 percent reduction from 2005 levels by 2025.


City Initiatives

Reducing energy use is one of the biggest challenges facing cities today. Public and commercial buildings pose an especaially large challenge. Many cities are addressing this issue by encouraging more energy efficiency, which offers progress toward larger greenhouse gas and energy reduction goals while minimizing costs to consumers and utilities.

C2ES is studying and documenting energy efficiency initiatives in several cities, including:


C2ES and the George Washington University (GWU) schools of law and engineering are collaborating on a multi-disciplinary research project on microgrids. Microgrids can manage electricity delivery from a variety of sources to a range of end-users within close proximity. They can operate independently from, or in conjunction with, the larger electricity grid.

Our joint resesearch is comparing and contrasting different models for financing microgrids and highlighting their value in reducing emissions and increasing grid resilience. Additionally, the analysis will explore legal issues and challenges. The team will also develop tools for financial and engineering modeling.

The project team brings together legal, engineering, policy and finance professionals to ensure a thorough but practical review of options and insights that can be useful for potential project developers. C2ES research will also serve as the foundation for a workshop in early 2017.


Powering Phoenix

The city of Phoenix has developed innovative partnerships with the private sector, investors, and the state to promote energy efficiency and increase the share of renewable energy.

Philadelphia’s Benchmarking and Energy Use Program

Philadelphia set a goal to reduce citywide carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent from 1990 levels by the end of 2015. The city is working with Drexel University to develop a framework for reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050.

C2ES Resources:


State Initiatives

C2ES is working with states on ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase clean energy use. A particular focus area is Clean Power Plan implementation plan development.

While many states see the value in employing market-based strategies, including interstate trading, in their implementation plans, they also see hurdles to following this approach. C2ES is convening a series of private workshops with city, state, and business officials to discuss these problems and identify common ground.

C2ES Resources: