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Renewable Energy Challenge

Communities have immense potential to develop solutions that create local benefits. These solutions can be replicated and built upon by other communities – whether they are nearby or across the globe – to magnify impact. Let's tap into these vast community-level resources to accelerate the transition from our current reliance on fossil fuels to one where renewable energy, a strong economy and clean air are the new status quo.

Our World: Access, Lifestyle and Energy

source: The Energy Report

Access to clean energy and the right to clean air, clean water and a healthy environment will promote a world with more dignity, sustainable livelihoods and economic opportunities. Whether the primary goal for your community is to combat climate change, urge sustainable development, advocate for a healthier and more accessible world or all of the above, we must accelerate the transition to renewables.

Energy Facts

Scientific evidence shows that global climate change is happening now.
Burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) emits greenhouse gases - including CO2 - and causes other harmful health impacts.
In 2014, carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere reached 400 parts per million (ppm), the highest in human history.
The global impacts of climate change are evident in severe droughts, increasing magnitude of wildfires, rising sea levels and other natural disasters .
Renewable energy resources, like wind, water and solar, have the proven potential to meet our world's energy demands.
All the energy stored in the Earth's reserves of coal, oil and natural gas is matched by just 20 days of sunshine and the resulting solar energy.
Onshore wind could supply more than 40 times the current worldwide consumption of electricity.

It is time to choose renewable solutions first. In promoting renewable energy, we can displace our reliance on fossil fuels while creating new economic opportunities in a cleaner, safer and healthier world

The Power of Communities

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
– Margaret Mead

We want the unique historical, cultural and resource-driven strengths present in communities to be integral in solutions. Whether your community is a neighborhood, city, school, office, club, family or other group – we believe that active and engaged members have the power to create big changes, especially in our energy sector.

Through this challenge, we are calling upon our powerful and diverse OpenIDEO community to devise innovative strategies for communities to take the lead in the rapid transition to renewable energy – creating deep and lasting commitment and action toward a sustainable future.

What we are looking for

So what kind of solutions are we most excited to see on OpenIDEO? Those that:

Empathize with a community's strengths and needs. What are the key values and what sort of resources are available? How can these elements be combined in creative and sustainable solutions?
Focus on renewable energy. Energy efficiency efforts are critical to reduce overall energy demand, but through this challenge we are searching for projects that focus first and foremost on accelerating renewable energy.
Are local and actionable. We're keen on solutions that are tangible and can be quickly tested and proven on a small scale and that have the potential to be replicated in other communities.
Help communities take control of their energy future.Holistic renewable energy solutions empower people to make choices for themselves – the type of energy they want, how they want to build it and how they want to pay for it.

Support for Ideas

As the challenge unfolds we'll share more about our goals so you know where we're headed. We're also thrilled to have a group of advisors – with a background in renewable energy – engaged in this challenge. You'll see them participating on OpenIDEO providing feedback and asking questions. As an added bonus we'll be providing exclusive design support to selected ideas in order to further their impact.

As always, we encourage everyone to take your ideas forward in your own communities or to collaborate with your network to implement them. On OpenIDEO we strive to be a place where good ideas gain momentum – both from the community and from our sponsors and partners. For more information check out our Guiding Principles for tips on how our community collaborates


A program of The Schmidt Family Foundation, The 11th Hour Project promotes a fuller understanding of the impact of human activity within the web of interdependent living systems. They connect organizations with good information on how to develop a more responsible relationship with the world's water, energy and food resources. To learn more visit their Programs page or follow @11thhourproject on Twitter.