From left: Takashi Otsuka (Director, ICLEI Japan Office); Kaoru Kobayashi (Mayor, Fukushima City); Bertram Hilgen (Mayor, City of Kassel, Germany); Kenichi Kato (Mayor, Odawara City); Michio Takano (Vice-Mayor, Miyama City); Hiroto Takahashi (Mayor, Ogata Village); Felix Groba (Director General, City of Berlin, Germany); and Shoichiro Seki (Director, Nagano Prefecture)

Hiroto Takahashi, Mayor, Ogata Village

Felix Groba, Director General, City of Berlin, Germany

Fukushima City, Japan

Mayors discuss the leadership of cities and regions on the transition to local renewable energy

Local leaders of Japanese and German cities and regions expressed the need for 100% renewable energy and highlighted the role of local governments in achieving a sustainable society at the 1st World Community Power Conference (WCPC2016) held on 3-4 November, 2016 in Fukushima, Japan.

At the “Renewables 100% Mayors Summit,” a high-level session held on the first day of WCPC2016 and facilitated by ICLEI, seven Japanese and German local government leaders shared insights on their efforts towards advancing renewable energy within their communities: Fukushima City, Odawara City, Miyama City, Ogata Village and Nagano Prefecture, Japan and City of Kassel and City of Berlin, Germany.

During the panel discussion, the local leaders were asked about their motivation behind their efforts. Their responses varied depending on their communities’ local context, but for many of the Japanese cities, the Great East Japan Earthquake and the subsequent energy crisis served as a wake-up call to build a local energy system that takes advantage of local resources and helps keep money flowing within the local economy. During his remarks, Hiroto Takahashi, Mayor of Ogata Village commented that “[he wants] Ogata Village to achieve 100% Renewable Energy.”

The general understanding among the local leaders was that when they think carefully about the future of their communities, the sustainability of our society, and the next generation that will bear the costs of the current fossil-fuel based economy, it is absolutely logical and necessary that they actively promote the transition to renewable energy: “There’s no reason to import energy if you can harness it from rooftops,” said Felix Groba, Director General, City of Berlin, Germany.

With regards to the role of local governments in supporting this transition, speakers echoed the importance of cities and regions in facilitating the development of a common vision for the community that it wants to become in the future. In doing so, leaders emphasized the significance of involving various stakeholders, from citizens and local businesses to financial and academic institutions. Because of this key role, local governments are enablers, catalysts and partners in achieving 100% renewable energy.

At the end of the 2-day conference, the “Fukushima Community Power Declaration –For the future of the earth–” was issued, which was read by Fukushima City Mayor Kobayashi.

Organized by the Japan Community Power Association, the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies, and the World Wind Energy Association in cooperation with ICLEI and other partners, the 1st World Community Power Conference brought together leaders in community power from various sectors, including public, private, and academia, as well as the general public from Japan and abroad to discuss the role community power plays in the global shift towards renewable energy. Over 600 participants from more than 30 countries gathered in Fukushima, Japan to attend the 2-day conference. ICLEI participated in the conference as an International Cities Partner.

Learn more about the Global 100% Renewable Energy Cities and Regions Network, ICLEI’s network of cities, towns, and regions committed to 100% Renewable Energy and, by doing so, contribute to the multi-stakeholder Global 100% RE Campaign.