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In Central Luzon, some 100 kilometers from Metro Manila, construction is in full swing on the Philippines’ very first ‘smart city’. New Clark City is a 9,450-hectare mixed-use development within the Clark Special Economic Zone masterplanned to address the pain points that make many of our big cities nearly unlivable: the congested roads, the pollution, the high cost of utilities, the inability to weather natural disasters. Like all smart cities around the world, New Clark City is a chance to get it right.

Besides their heavy reliance on technology, smart cities are distinguished by their people-centered focus and sustainable practices. There is emphasis on carving out wide, open, pedestrian-friendly spaces and making mass transit easily accessible to discourage the use of private vehicles. Some have gone a step further and are already powered by renewable energy (RE) and are looking at further deployment of these sources as part of their smart city plans. These are what Deloitte calls smart renewable cities (SRC).

SRCs around the world are turning to wind and solar power as these RE sources reach price and performance parity with conventional energy sources. Deloitte looked at a number of SRCs and the range of initiatives they are taking around renewables and classified them into three categories – biggest cities, purest cities and newest cities – to build a framework other smart cities can use to plan their own shift to renewables.

Biggest, purest, newest

Biggest cities have over a million residents and tend to be replete with legacy infrastructure and complexity. Among the biggest SRCs Deloitte studied, the one with the highest share of solar and wind power is in Adelaide, Australia, at 42.2 percent.

Purest SRCs are those where solar and/or wind account for over 42.2 percent of the current energy mix. One example is Copenhagen, Denmark, where wind and solar account for 47 percent of the energy generated. Newest cities may be the ideal models, having the advantage of fully intentional and unhindered deployment of renewables. Peña Station Next in Colorado, USA is one: the 382-acre community runs purely on renewable energy and, as such, is carbon neutral.

These SRCs are leading the way in harnessing renewables to contribute to the smart city goals of economic growth, sustainability, and quality of life.

Green economic growth

SRCs foster economic growth by using affordable and reliable renewable power.

Georgetown, Texas in the US, for example, has managed to drive down its electricity prices from 11.4c/kWh in 2008 to 8.5c/kWh after it achieved its 100 percent wind and solar goal in 2017. Classified as a purest city, Georgetown’s “100 percent renewable” status has also drawn interest from members of RE100, a growing group of 165 companies committed to achieving or maintaining 100 percent renewable use. Many of these companies offer high-paying jobs that cities seek.

Sustainable buildings and transportation

As in traditional cities, buildings and transportation account for most of the energy use in the SRCs Deloitte studied. But unlike traditional citites, SRCs manage their energy and natural resources more efficiently.

Public utility company San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) supported its city’s smart building initiatives by deploying smart meters and working with Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology providers to give building operators in the Port of San Diego demand-response capability. The meters track patterns of energy consumption and identify abnormalities, allowing building operators to adjust behaviors accordingly. Besides energy and cost savings, the meters are helping drive down greenhouse gas emissions.

Higher quality of life

Finally, SRCs can offer higher quality of life for residents, if only for the cleaner, healthier environment they promote. Newest SRCs, in particular, can minimize most local air pollutants in a world where 80 percent of urban dwellers are exposed to pollution levels that exceed World Health Organization limits for public safety. That percentage rises to 98 percent in low- and mid-income countries such as the Philippines.

One of the ways SRCs are improving air quality is by restricting vehicular access to city centers. New Clark City, for example, was designed with people – not cars – in mind, with wide pedestrian lanes and protected bicycle lanes. Copenhagen has banned diesel cars in the city and has designated certain areas as car-free. Peña Station Next is piloting an autonomous electronic vehicle shuttle fleet as part of its mass transit system.

These SRCs are proof that the technology, know-how and synergies already exist to build cities that are cleaner, smarter and more efficient than the cities we currently live and work in. And in a few months, Filipinos will have the chance to experience this difference for themselves when New Clark City debuts its first phase of development. It’s an infrastructure project that not only carries with it the pride of Philippine innovation and ingenuity; if you think about it, our very health and survival may depend on it.


Autor(en)/Author(s): Dianae Yap

Quelle/Source: The Manila Times, 25.03.2019

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