World Resource Institute

Cities Renewables Accelerator

The American Cities Climate Challenge, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, is a two-year acceleration program with powerful new resources and access to cutting-edge support to help cities meet – or beat – their near-term carbon reduction goals.

The Renewables Accelerator, an initiative of the Challenge, supports U.S. cities as they seek to procure renewable energy to meet these goals. Jointly led by WRI and RMI and facilitated by the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN), the Renewables Accelerator offers technical support both to the 25 selected Challenge cities and to over 100 USDN members interested in powering their cities with low-carbon renewable energy. The Renewables Accelerator facilitates peer exchange among cities and shares lessons learned from other large renewable energy buyers while leveraging WRI and RMI’s expertise.

The Renewables Accelerator helps cities understand procurement options, deployment strategies and best practices. For cities interested in large-scale renewable energy procurement, the initiative covers municipal direct power purchase agreements (PPAs), virtual PPAs, utility offerings and community choice aggregation (CCA). For cities interested in local options, support is available for deploying on-site renewables on municipal facilities, increasing on-site renewables adoption among residential and commercial customers within the community and implementing community-scale solar (CSS).

The team also helps cities navigate regulatory, policy and institutional barriers by facilitating engagement with utilities, public utility commissions and state legislatures.

The Renewables Accelerator offers cities:

In-person trainings. In collaboration with USDN, the team is hosting a series of intensive, in-person trainings with an emphasis on facilitated peer learning. These are led by practitioners with real-world energy procurement experience, including faculty from cities. Initial trainings include:

  • A “Renewable Energy Procurement 101” session that helps cities understand and evaluate all of their renewables options; and
  • Deep-dive boot camps focused on specific renewable energy procurement opportunities. The team may also offer a limited number of in-person trainings for regional groups of cities.

Ongoing peer exchange. The team facilitates regular interactions among cities with similar needs and interests to continue the peer-learning process (e.g., monthly calls or webinars to share progress, solve problems and exchange lessons learned).

Technical resources and tools. Cities have access to a library of resources to guide procurement decisions and actions, including “how-to” guides focused on specific procurement methods and primers that synthesize best practices and modular templates (standardized language) which can be adapted and used in transaction documents (e.g. RFIs, RFPs and contracts).

Individual support. The Renewables Accelerator offers tailored assistance to the cities selected by the Challenge, including help in developing renewable strategies, supporting dialogue within city governments and reviewing transaction documents. Light-touch support, such as responding to specific/tactical questions and incorporating requested content into the trainings and resources, is also available to USDN members.

To learn more about the Renewables Accelerator and how cities can benefit, please visit or contact Lacey Shaver or Alex Dane.