In an article for Smart Cities Dive, Navigant Research shares how city stakeholders can benefit from advances in the Energy Cloud
Cities around the world are ramping up their efforts to meet global climate targets and ambitious local goals, including plans to become carbon neutral or zero carbon. Key to achieving these goals, according to Eric Woods, research director at Navigant Research, is the implementation of major changes to city energy systems.
In an article for Smart Cities Dive, Woods said the urban energy transformation will touch every aspect of city services and infrastructure, including energy generation and distribution, heating and cooling systems, building energy efficiency, transportation, water and waste management, and the efficiency of city services such as street lighting. At the same time, city operations are expected to be transformed by digital technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), smart buildings, artificial intelligence, robotics, and automated vehicles as the Energy Cloud continues to develop.
“The emerging urban Energy Cloud vision is of a smart city that integrates large- and small-scale energy initiatives and solutions, citywide improvements in energy efficiency, distributed energy resources, and low carbon transportation,” said Woods. “In the process, cities will become clusters of smart energy communities that can exploit the benefits of new energy systems.”
To benefit from the emergence of the urban Energy Cloud, city leaders and other policymakers should look to create platforms for collaboration and procurement to drive innovation (technology and business models), develop business cases, execute pilots, and form partnerships to implement and scale new energy solutions. In addition, Woods says cities need to continue to raise the bar on traditional approaches to urban design and construction. This includes embedding smart and sustainable design principles in urban planning processes and evaluation the potential of digital technologies.
“The city of 2030 will need to manage a much more complex set of interdependencies between diverse aspects of city operations, infrastructure, and platforms,” Woods said, adding that the market for smart services across urban energy, buildings, mobility, and other city operations is expected to reach $1.5 trillion over the next decade.