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Transformative technology usually finds its place, where it can be used productively, in spite of any setbacks on the journey. Smart cities, enhanced with IoT, advanced computing and AI, EVs and renewables, as well as sensors, Virtual Power Plants and microgrids, blockchain systems, and other technologies will be essential during the transition to net zero.

Financially, the global smart city market is projected to reach $820 billion by 2025, so there is an incentive for companies to reach for a slice of this pie. In addition, many countries are urbanizing, so people are migrating from the country to the city, in search of jobs or a better life for themselves and their families.

Smart cities implement advanced technology, with the intention of improving quality of life for their residents, while simultaneously reducing their environmental impact by using less energy for example by utilizing renewables and energy efficiency. By integrating various components such as sensors, networks, and software applications, these cities gather and analyze real-time data to make informed decisions that enhance efficiency and sustainability.

The blending of smart cities and renewable energy offers numerous advantages, paving the way for a greener and more sustainable future.

  • Environmental benefits: diminished greenhouse gas emissions, decreased reliance on fossil fuels, and improved air quality.
  • Cost savings: cutting energy costs through efficient resource utilization and better savings from renewable power.
  • Job creation: development of new industries and employment opportunities in the advanced technology sector.
  • Resilience and reliability: diversification of energy sources, reducing vulnerability to power outages and disruptions.
  • As the urgency to ameliorate climate change intensifies, smart cities and renewable energy advances a compelling solution that aligns environmental, economic, and social interests.

Firstly, smart cities prioritize improving energy efficiency in buildings. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), buildings account for approximately 40% of global energy consumption. To overcome this challenge, smart cities utilize advanced monitoring systems to track energy usage, identify inefficiencies, and implement effective measures. Systems are available that can automatically adjust lighting, heating, and cooling based on occupancy, weather conditions, and energy demand, ensuring optimal energy utilization.

Smart cities can be built with energy efficiency in mind. It is much easier to design something modern from the ground up, than try to retrofit it into older buildings that were never intended to work with such technology. Dual use technology is a prime contender, for example, building a data center which has a waste heat module, so that all the excess heat is piped away to be used to heat greenhouses. Not easy to do when the data center is in the middle of an existing urban area, but much more practicable when the facility is designed as part of a newbuild smart city, with few or no legacy buildings. Britain did exactly that with its “New Towns” just after World War Two: these were cutting edge modern towns intended to have everything citizens needed, with new houses to replace buildings destroyed in the war. In the main these designs have stood the test of time – with expansion and upgrading – because they were entirely planned, unlike most urban locations which develop haphazardly over centuries.

Some of the main drivers of smart city technology:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): improving energy consumption patterns, accurately predicting demand, and enabling intelligent decision-making for energy management.
  • Blockchain technology: enhancing transparency, traceability, and security in energy transactions and peer-to-peer energy trading.
  • Energy-efficient infrastructure: incorporating eco-friendly design principles into the construction and renovation of buildings.

In Conclusion

As the need for sustainable energy solutions intensifies, smart cities will have to lead the way in energy management. By embracing renewable resources, adopting innovative technologies, and aligning environmental and economic interests, smart cities could pioneer a new era of urban development.

The advantages of smart cities and renewable energy are undeniable, with environmental benefits, cost savings, job creation, and enhanced resilience being just a few of the numerous advantages they offer. As the world moves through the energy transition, the future of energy management lies in greener and more sustainable future for generations to come.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Julian Jackson

Quelle/Source: Energy Central, 19.12.2023

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