Local Government Renewables Action Tracker

The Local Government Renewable Actions Tracker is a resource developed by the American Cities Climate Challenge Renewables Accelerator, a partnership between World Resources Institute (WRI) and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) to help local governments procure renewable electricity. The Tracker's primary form is an interactive web tool hosted on the ACCC Renewables Accelerator website; the present dataset includes all the transactions and engagements that meet the inclusion criteria laid out in the technical note, with some additional fields not featured in the online tool.

As the first major effort to catalog and highlight local governments' support of renewable electricity generation through singning of contracts and avocating for change, the Tracker has two primary goals. The first is to help local governments learn from what others have accomplished and inspire and accelerate similar actions across the United States. The second is to allow local governments and other interested parties such as the renewable energy industry, academics, and journalists to quickly and easily assess the range of local government actions on renewables and the cumulative impact that local governments are achieving through their renewable electricity purchases and advocacy efforts.

Downloads and Resources

Description

The Tracker contains information on two types of renewables activities commonly being pursued by local governments in the United States: 1. Electricity purchases and transactions, such as on-site solar, community solar projects, off-site power purchase agreements (PPAs), and green tariff contracts. 2. Engagements with utilities, regulators, or legislators to expand access to new renewables solutions, such as intervening in a utility’s integrated resource planning process.

Information contained in both sections of this dataset were obtained, among others, by: 1. Searching platforms such as LexisNexis, S&P Global Market Intelligence, AEE PowerSuite; 2. Incorporating known datasets from other key partners or organizations, such as the list of New Renewable Long-Term Power Purchases, published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership Program and the California Community Choice Association; 3. Eliciting examples of engagement actions from the Renewables Accelerator team and other RMI and WRI staff; 4. Collecting information from state electric utility regulatory commission websites.

For a comprehensive account of the methodology and inclusion criteria used in creating this dataset, please see the Local Government Renewables Action Tracker's Technical Note.

Cautions

This Tracker has several important limitations:

  • In order to highlight local governments’ considerable efforts and maintain a reasonable scope, the dataset intentionally excludes transactions that do not meet the inclusion criteria outlined in the methodology section of the tool's technical note.

  • The renewable energy transactions included in the dataset should not be used to calculate any organization’s GHG emissions or estimate its progress toward a goal, as local governments can only claim to be using renewable electricity if they retain and retire the RECs associated with an energy project or, separately, purchase replacement RECs for the same quantity of energy. The Tracker does not have any inclusion criteria regarding REC treatment, as a local government’s treatment of the RECs is rarely announced and may change over time.

  • While the Renewables Accelerator team intends to include as many eligible transactions and engagements as possible, the methodology used is insufficient to ensure that this dataset is fully comprehensive. The required desktop research relies on press releases, statements from parties within a transaction, or local media coverage. If a local government chooses not to publicize a renewable transaction, it is unlikely to be included in the Tracker.

  • Although the transactions portion of the dataset is meant to be as comprehensive as possible, the same cannot be said about the engagements portion, which instead displays a limited set of examples illustrative of the range of engagement actions that local governments can pursue. Furthermore, local government engagements with utilities, regulators, legislators, and RTO/ISOs may be politically sensitive and/or not publicized. The engagements highlighted in the Tracker represent a subset of these actions that have been approved for publication by the relevant local governments.

  • The dataset will continue to grow over time, so users may need to revisit the site periodically to ensure they are using the most accurate available data. The future of the website and maintenance are dependent upon having the funding and capacity to maintain ongoing data collection. If the Renewables Accelerator project concludes that this is necessary, the website will be taken down or a message will be added to alert website users to the time frame of the data shown.

Citation

Abbott, S., Goncalves, T., House, H., Liu, Y., Shaver, L., and Walz, E. 2020. 'Local Government Renewables Action Tracker.' Washington, DC: Rocky Mountain Institute and World Resources Institute. Available online at: https://cityrenewables.org/local-government-renewables-action-tracker/

Access & Use Information

License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Full license text available at Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

Metadata

Project: American Cities Climate Challenge: Renewables Accelerator (U.S. Energy)

Page Last Updated: June 24, 2020

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