Return to site


Switching to renewable energy from fossil fuels is the foundation of climateaction.

Many kinds of renewable energy (such as solar) can be locallygenerated within municipality boundaries. How much of acommunity’s energy mix is renewable?

broken image

Why this Indicator is Important

This indicator looks at the portion of a city’s electricity generated from renewable sources. Electricity can be generated from non-renewable sources (such as coal), or renewable (such as solar). In provinces where electricity is generated from fossil fuels (such as Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and Nunavut),1 renewable sources of electricity need to be expanded before electrification (of vehicles, for example), will make a difference to emissions. Even if a city has 100% renewable electricity, residents might still rely on fossil fuels directly for heating their homes (with natural gas) or fueling their vehicles (with gasoline). Therefore, this indicator only captures a portion of total energy use. Since electricity generation often takes place on a regional level, it largely falls under provincial jurisdiction. However, there are still strategies municipalities can use for increasing local renewable generation of electricity. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has developed a factsheet titled “Municipal Energy Roadmap”,2 which outlines tools for the development of wind and solar energy generation in a municipality, among other approaches.3 Municipalities can build publicly-owned solar or wind infrastructure, or they can also enable other actors through financial, administrative, or educational support. This infrastructure can be small-scale, (such as a small rooftop solar system, perhaps installed by a homeowner), to community-level (such as a larger ground-mounted solar installation). Increasing local renewable electricity generation can keep money in the community, help reduce residents’ energy costs, and reduce GHG emissions.


Data Availability and Accessibility: 3/3

broken image

For this indicator, we draw on “City-wide Electricity Mix” data from the Carbon DisclosurenProject (CDP).4 The CDP is a non-profit global charity that collects benchmarking data on a wide variety of climate and environmental indicators from companies, cities, states, and regions. This particular dataset was compiled from answersto their 2015, 2016, and 2017 annual questionnaires to cities. Staff were asked to “indicate the energy mix of your electricity consumed at the city-wide scale.” Since energy mix data is more readily available at the provincial level, the CDP’s dataset is a valuable tool for tracking energy mix more locally.

broken image

Note(s): Data are from 2019 to 2022. The source of data is the CDP 2021 Cities Energy Mix. Renewable energy sources include wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, and biomass.

Winning Municipality

This year, Winnipeg, Manitoba, with its score of 100% renewable electricity, bumps Montreal to second place. Both Manitoba and Quebec are hydropower provinces, and Manitoba generates 100% of its own electricity through hydropower. However, this hydroelectricity is generated in northern Manitoba, where hydro dams have flooded Indigenous traditional territories, dislocating communities and disrupting traditional livelihoods and ecosystems. As discussed above, despite its 100% renewable electricity grid, Winnipeg still uses fossil fuels. Buildings and transportation represent its largest sources of GHG emissions. To address this, Winnipeg has committed to the Community Energy Investment Roadmap (CEIR), for the city to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.5 Consistent with some of the recommendations from the FCM above, the roadmap calls for investment in improved thermal retention in its buildings and for conversion to renewable heat sources like use of heat pumps and solar arrays.


International Highlight

A rapid growth in Turkey’s economy and population size has led the country to rethink their energy production and consumption. To address this issue, Turkey has decided to increase the production of renewable energy. Over the last five years, the country’s production of renewable energy, including hydropower, solar, and wind, has increased by 50%. Although Turkey had the fifth highest level of new renewable capacity additions in Europe in 2019, the International Energy Agency has stated that the countrystill has great potential for renewable energy growth.6