Some key findings:
- Many mayors anticipate further growth in the deployment of new energy technologies in cities. Two-thirds (67%) of the 288 cities participating in this survey expect the use of new energy technologies to increase over the next five years, with more than one in five cities (21%) in this survey expecting the increase to be “significant.”
- Nearly a quarter of Mayors assigned a priority to retrofitting commercial/industrial buildings (after improving municipal buildings, providing energy audits, and improving energy-related building codes)
- Selecting among additional city energy priorities, a majority of all cities identified community outreach and engagement on energy efficiency and energy technologies as the top activity. Expanding community outreach and engagement was the top choice (54%) among other potential priorities, with nearly one-third (31%) citing helping citizens and businesses finance needed energy improvements.
- A majority of mayors are creating programs to engage local residents in reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GhGs) as their priority among other community-wide engagement initiatives. Asked to choose among six climate-related community engagement activities, the first choice of mayors are programs that engage local residents in reducing emissions (54%).
- After working with residents, mayors turn to their business community (45%) to support city efforts to reduce emissions. Four in ten cities are developing a climate adaptation plan for the city (40%), and the same percentage is undertaking assessments and/or creating community-wide responses to predicted climate impacts (40%).
- Cities identified the “most significant” challenges before them in advancing energy efficiency and conservation in these targeted areas, overwhelmingly citing financial concerns – budget/fiscal constraints (84%) and high up-front costs (71%) – as the top two challenges.
- More than seven in ten mayors believe utilities are now the cities’ most important partner in deploying new energy technologies. Mayors rank utilities (71%) as their top partner in advancing new technologies, followed by state governments (49%) and the private sector (41%).
- After city resources, private sector offerings are cited most often: private utility financing (14%), energy performance contracting (23%) and other public-private partnerships (26%).
Given these results, cities and towns in New Jersey should welcome the message that there is a new method of financing clean energy retrofits for private property owners through PACE.