Episode#60 C40 Cities: The 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy for Cities Programme with Google

GuestsCassie Sutherland, Managing Director for Climate Solutions and Networks for the C40 Cities Network

Find transcript here


Summaries of Key Takeaways:  

  • City-Led Climate Action: C40 Cities, representing nearly 100 cities globally, is focused on ambitious climate action led by mayors and city officials. 
  • Global South and North Representation: The network includes cities from both the Global South and North, aiming for a significant global impact on climate change. 
  • 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy Program: A collaboration with Google to decarbonize energy systems, ensuring renewable energy use around the clock. 
  • Challenges in Energy Transition: Identifies barriers like data availability, governance, infrastructure, and finance in achieving 24/7 carbon-free energy. 
  • Just Transition and Job Creation: Emphasizes the need for a just transition, ensuring that the shift to green jobs is equitable and inclusive. 


“To you, what is a Smart City?”

Cassie Sutherland: “Yeah, well, so a Smart City is, for me, a city that is resilient. And I guess I mean that as being climate resilient, but also other levels of resilient. It's one that's livable and puts people at the center of it. So that means it has accessible green spaces, it has services within a short proximity, you can actually access things around your home. And it's designed, and I think that also brings in the smart bit because you need that to be well designed and that it's of course zero carbon, it's net zero. This reduces emissions, but also that it's really designed to grow and flex with the people of the city. So how is it adaptable? Adaptable. Exactly. How is it adaptable? We've seen many issues of cities in the past being constrained by growth or being totally overwhelmed by growth or changes in demographics in that kind of ebb and flow of people from cities. And I think that's going to become even more important in the future as we also see huge impact of climate migration to cities, as well as people being moved from rural areas due to climate impact into cities. So how are cities really set up to adapt to that?”  



  • A collective effort is essential for effectively addressing the global issues related to climate change 

" The mayors of the [C40 cities] are coming together to be the ambitious leaders to tackle climate change and the problems we're facing. " - Cassie Sutherland 

  • Urban energy systems need to be agile and capable of adjusting to changing conditions, including fluctuations in energy demand 

" London actually took a citywide approach [to 24/7 carbon-free energy] and really focused on what's the opportunity for demand-side flexibility." - Cassie Sutherland 

  • Cities need to strike a balance between urgency and thoughtful, people-centric decision-making 

" We should act quickly, urgently, and in response to the needs and demands of people in our cities, and not just wait for the data to be perfect." - Cassie Sutherland 

" The key is really to understand at what level are you able to apply the right technology. " - Teddy Sibbern Axelsen