Low-carbon Technologies and Renewable Energy Sources

Urban areas are responsible for 75% of the greenhouse gas emissions and for 80% of the global energy consumption. These figures are only expected to increase with the global trend of urbanization. As a consequence, the cities become crucial hubs for mitigating the impacts of climate change and decarbonizing the world economy. This is the very purpose of the low carbon technologies and the renewable sources of energy, which seek to diminish the carbon footprint left by our ever expanding urban societies. However, the market penetration of these technologies remains limited, while the conventional sources of energy appear to be highly resilient to change.

This phenomenon can be explained by the relative novelty of the low carbon technologies and renewable energy sources. As a consequence, urban projects that attempt to implement these types of solutions are faced with a number of barriers. The availability of information on the viability of these projects is low and the sources of appropriate financing are lacking. The low opportunities for funding become a huge barrier to implementation, given the fact that low carbon technologies require a higher level of initial investment and have a longer period of return than the projects that involve conventional energy sources.

Therefore, it is of paramount importance for public authorities on all levels to promote the implementation of low carbon technologies and renewable energy sources in the urban areas. In order to stimulate the investments in this sector, regulatory, financial, social and technical barriers faced by low carbon technologies must be tackled.