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Procurement Guidance Menu

Developing a Strategy

Understand Why Cities Buy Renewable Energy

There are a number of common motivations for purchasing renewable energy that cities consider, including:

  • Environmental Impact
    • Reduce GHG emissions, due to a moral imperative and/or practical considerations such as a city’s vulnerability to climate change
    • Improve air quality and public health
  • Local Economic Impact
    • Support local workforce development and job creation
    • Increase tax revenue
  • Financial Benefits
    • Reduce city energy expenditures
    • Protect the city from potential future increases in energy prices
  • Equity
    • Expand access to renewable energy to low- and moderate-income or other disadvantaged communities
    • Increase environmental justice or utilization of underdeveloped sites
  • Grid Resilience
    • Increase local energy resilience
    • Install local energy supply solution(s) in case of a disruption or natural disaster
  • Clean Energy Leadership
    • Generate positive public press for your city and its leadership
    • Develop innovative or novel solutions (i.e. wow factor)


For more information on possible municipal and community priorities, see the training video in “Module 1: Goal Setting and Clarification” in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL’s) Solar Decision Support and Resources for Local Governments, as well as databases of city commitments and actions from Ready for 100, CDP, and NAZCA.