The Urban Energy Policy Institute

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The Urban Energy Policy Institute (UEPI) is an American non-profit, non-partisan organization that aims to serve as a forum for ideas of all persuasions. The Urban Energy Policy Institute seeks to achieve these aims through three activities: 1. Serve as repository for Energy Data at the City level; 2. Encourage new ideas through its Energy City Essay Competition and network of contributors; 3. Hold conferences, workshops and other events to bring together urban energy professionals.


Began in 2010, the Urban Energy Policy Institute posits that because more than half of the global population is urbanized and Two-Thirds of global primary energy consumption is consumed by cities means that in the future, Urban Energy Policy will not just play a critical role in energy policy, but define energy policy.

Mission statement

The Mission of the Urban Energy Policy Institute is to promote awareness of global urban energy policy challenges and contribute to their resolution through the generation of affordable, sustainable and practical ideas.


The Urban Energy Policy Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that aims to serve as a forum for ideas of all persuasions. The Urban Energy Policy Institute seeks to achieve these aims through three activities

  • Serve as repository for Energy Data at the City level
  • Encourage new ideas through its Energy City Essay Competition and network of contributors
  • Hold conferences, workshops and other events to bring together urban energy professionals

Defining Urban

Urban area act as employment hubs that serve as the primary economic engine for designated metropolitan areas; which are the urban areas, as well as satellite cities as connected rural areas.

  • In the United States, urbanized areas are urban areas of 50,000 or more people. Urban clusters are urban areas with less than 50,000 people.
  • 70% of the US population (210 Million of 300 Million) lives in urban areas collectively accounting for 2% of the land area of the United States.
  • 30% (60 Million of 210 Million) of the urban area residents live in the core city, while 70% (150 Million of 210 Million) live in the suburbs and surrounding areas.
  • Percentage of the world’s population living in urban areas
 1900: 13%/220 Million
 1950: 29%/732 Million
 2005: 49%/3.2 Billion
 2007: First time more than 50% of the global population was urban
 UN Projection for 2030: 60% 4.9 Billion


Energy Efficiency

Article on Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency is simply getting more energy by using fewer resources and producing fewer emissions. This idea can be applied across the board: from appliances and home weatherizing to cleaner fuels and energy sources. The International Energy Agency reports that adopting energy efficiency standards and practices in our buildings, industrial processes and transportation can help reduce the world's projected 2050 energy consumption by one third.

Physicist Amory Lovins, popularized the idea of negawatts. A negawatt can be understood as electricity not generated due to achieved efficiencies or the implementation of incentives to discourage energy use during peak load times. The goal of energy efficiency is to maintain the level of economic activities and economic growth, while not increasing energy use in the same proportion as economic activity. After the energy crisis of the 1970s, California changed public policy in regards to building and appliance standards to promote energy efficiency. Since then, National per capita energy consumption has doubled, while California's has stayed flat.

The Rocky Mountain Institute points out that in industrial settings, "there are abundant opportunities to save 70% to 90% of the energy and cost for lighting, fan, and pump systems; 50% for electric motors; and 60% in areas such as heating, cooling, office equipment, and appliances." In general, up to 75% of the electricity used in the U.S. today could be saved with efficiency measures that cost less than the electricity itself. Other studies have emphasized this. A report published in 2006 by the McKinsey Global Institute, asserted that "there are sufficient economically viable opportunities for energy-productivity improvements that could keep global energy-demand growth at less than 1 percent per annum"—less than half of the 2.2 percent average growth anticipated through 2020 in a business-as-usual scenario.

Urban areas and large amounts of building stock are synonymous. According to DOE - Energy Information Administration, 48% of all energy consumption in the US is accounted for in buildings alone. Improvements to existing buildings as well as higher efficiency standards for new buildings can greatly reduce energy lost. Various rating such as LEED and Energy Star in the US, BREEAM in the UK, and GBTool in 20 other countries have begun to promote energy efficiency in buildings, but higher minimum standards must be adopted to highly reduce energy consumption and emissions in buildings.[1]

Smart Grids

Article on Smart Grid

Smart Grid: The Smart Grid involves more than simply installation of Automatic Meter Reading (AMR). It encompasses a range of technological and communication advances that will require regulatory and behaviour changes among customers and policy makers.[2]


Article on Sustainability

Urban Sustainability. Cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Sydney, London, Tokyo and others all over the world have begun sustainable planning initiatives aimed at meeting estimated future challenges in energy and the environment.

UEPI view of sustainability includes addressing the local regional and transnational environmental consequences of the energy supply and consumption choices we make. UEPI aims to develop solutions to both local problems such as air and water pollution as well as global problems such as Climate Change.[3]

Distributed Generation

Article on Distributed Generation

Distributed Generation (DG) refers to small scale generation located at or near the customer load. Common examples of DG include rooftop solar installations, on-site diesel generators, small scale wind turbines. For consumers, the benefit of DG is in lower utility bills, with the added bonus of the ability to sell excess power back into the grid. For utility providers, the benefit exists in lower infrastructure investments for added generation capability.[4]

Generation & Transmission Siting

Article on Generation
Article on Transmission

Generation & Transmission Siting. The siting of new or repowered in-city generation is becoming increasingly difficult as communities react to the prospect of power plants in their neighborhoods. Likewise, bringing power into every more energy demanding cities through new or expanded transmission lines causes additional problems. These involve not simply community concern, but also, regulatory, environmental and economic considerations.[5]

District Heating

Article on District Heating

District Heating is the very efficient process of taking heat, usually in the form of water or steam, from power generation and distributing it for heating in homes as well as industrial processes. This process occurs in co-generation (energy & heating) plants while the steam is distributed through a network of underground, insulated pipes. This process has been adopted in several cities in Europe, Asia and North America, with the largest owned by Consolidated Edison in New York City.[6]


Article on Public Transport

Transportation is one of the most important energy issues in an urban environment. Large cities, especially global hubs, suffer from pollution from automobiles, trucks, waterway shipping and airplanes. The high density, however allows for extensive use of public transportation systems to cut down on pollution and congestion. Successful policies in some cities have allowed for major decreases in the number of people driving within the city as well as flying out of the city for holidays. Governments are faced with rising costs of petroleum based fuels as well as the political costs of obtaining petroleum. According to the Energy Information Administration, transportation accounted for 28% of energy consumed in the US in 2008.[7]

UEPI Wiki Cities

"UEPI City Level Energy Data" is a UEPI Wiki Initiative inspired by Wikipedia. There is a great lack of city level energy data, and since urban areas are the centers of populations, economic activity, and increasingly energy consumption; UEPI has begun this initiative to try to bring contributors together from all over the world in order to build quality data templates for cities all over the world.

It is a repository of energy related data and information for the cities of the world. UEPI has adopted the use of this wiki as the medium they wish to employ in developing a large and useful store of data related to cities; specifically: energy consumption & production, emissions, targets, government initiatives, climate, geography & population, economic, and other information.

UEPI encourages you to contribute any sourced information that relates to the city templates we have provided.[8]


UEPI conducts an annual essay and photo competition about urban energy policy targeted at undergraduate and graduate students in the United States with prize money used to encourage the development of innovative ideas and solutions urban energy policy challenges.[9]

External links