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After Benjamin Franklin


International Solar City Program:
Introducing a new Australia-led initiative in market development for renewable energy technology

© P.Droege 1999 - 2008
The new ‘Solar City’ program is a cutting-edge, Australia-led initiative to broadly advance renewable energy technologies world-wide, specifically for the purpose of long-term urban greenhouse emissions reductions. This is a collaborative, scientifically supported market development program nurtured within the framework of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

It now seeks Australian industry sponsors and contributors to actively participate and take advantage of this unique branding and market development initiative.

The program promotes world-wide the introduction of renewable energy technologies in towns, cities and regions that work towards absolute CO2-equivalent emissions reductions. It provides advanced research and development support frameworks that interface with Agenda 21 / International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, including the Cities for Climate Protection™ program, as well as a number of other international networks and local programs. In doing so it adds specific market access value in

• advancing whole-of-city and regional development integration methods,

• targets and baseline model development in an objective international context and

• urban renewable energy technology integration and business development.

For Australian industry this is an opportunity to benefit from the:

• targeted promotion of climate technology knowledge, service capability and products across selected OECD and non-OECD states in a technologically sound environment;

• participation in high level leadership roles in advancing scientifically sound yet practical approaches to implementing international greenhouse gas commitments through planned, integrated development on the local and regional level;

• increasingly precise gauging of total urban emissions reduction potential for the purpose of domestic policy development, international carbon trade agreements and revenue generation.


Solar City's mission is to advance coordinated research and development initiatives in support of the leading towns, working towards the targeted and broad introduction of renewable energy technologies.

Umbrella organisation

Solar City was initiated in the IEA ’s set of energy technology research and development agreements. The IEA (www.iea.org) is an independent division of the OECD, founded in the 1970s to address energy security issues in the industrialised world. Since then, its has become also known as collaborative setting for advanced energy research and climate technology development worth an annual US$ 150 million.

Time frame

The Solar City concept was first introduced three years ago and formally accepted as new IEA project initiative in November 1999. Once fully assembled, the program has an initial life of five years.

Program components

The overall Solar City Program is envisioned to consist of the tasks outlined below. These will be developed in an international program workshop held in Australia 16-19 March 2000. The task components are:

1 best practice international benchmarks,

2 city and regional emissions baseline studies, sectoral and household-based,

3 renewable development policies and strategies,

4 energy technology and business assessment, and

5 monitoring of action.

Participant countries and cities

Any country can participate, beyond the two dozen OECD countries that form the core membership base. Countries fund their programs in ways that match cities needs and own programs but in ways that are generally applicable across national systems.

The Solar City program links these experiences into coherent outcomes, of use to all.

Eligible cities are those with an advanced level of climate-stabilising practice, a high degree of commitment to rigorous program participation, and a dedicated budget.

The following cities and countries are currently in various stages of consideration, exploration and negotiation, with others being added:

Melbourne, Australia • Austria • Toronto, Canada • China: various urban options currently being negotiated • Copenhagen, Denmark • Valby, Denmark • Germany: various potential cities • Israel • Palermo, Italy • Rome, Italy • Taegu, Korea • Kwangju, Korea • The Hague, Netherlands • South Africa • Japan Göteborg, Sweden • Switzerland • Sacramento, USA • Zambia • United Kingdom.


Peter Droege is both participant and formal leader of the program development effort. An academic leader and urban development expert, he is the chief organiser of the program at this time, at present working through solarcity.org based in Sydney.

Scientific advisers

Prof John Byrne, USA (urban energy and environment policy) • Prof Anne-Grete Hestnes, Norway (renewable energy building systems) • Dr David Mils, Australia (solar energy technology) • Dr Hermann Scheer, Germany (renewable energy economy) • Dr Kenneth Yeang, Malaysia (renewabe energy architecture and urban design) • Dr John Zillmann, Australia (urban climatology; cities and climate)

Key participants and national project leaders

Prof LI Jingjing, China (Director of Government of China/World Bank./Global Environment Project Office / CRED / SDPC) • Prof John Byrne, USA (CEEP, University of Delaware) • Mr Chiel Boonstra, The Netherlands (DHV) • Prof Federico Butera, Italy (Milan Polytechnical University) • Ms Anne Rasmussen, Denmark (Cenergia) • Mr Hans Eek, Sweden (Göteborg Energi) • Prof Norbert Fisch, Germany (TU Braunschweig) • Dr David Mills, Australia (University of Sydney) • Prof KIM Jongdall, South Korea (Kyungpook National University) • Prof Tanemura Sakae, Japan (Nagoya Institute of Technology)

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