What powers Smart Cities?

Last time on TheGreenCode, I talked about what I think our cities need to be like – in order to meet the needs of our planet. 
This time, we’ll look into what should power our futures in these cities.

Energy 3.0 is what powers smart cities. In a sentence, Energy 3.0 is the convergence of digital technology and the world of energy, providing the end-user with systems tailored to their precise energy needs, thereby reducing consumption and improving quality of life.

Digital technologies, after revolutionizing the information technology sector, are now transforming all economic sectors, including energy. This sector will see increasing numbers of consumers producing their own energy, not only sharing it with one another but also customizing it for their own personal use.

Innovations that marry the digital and energy disciplines are widespread, including technology that controls the energy consumption of buildings and interoperable communicating devices – such as temperature and air quality sensors, variable speed drives and robots, as well as smart meters and intensity and color controlled LED lighting. These are examples of the technology that is changing the way we use energy. Specifically though, the Energy 3.0 era will be made possible by two technological breakthroughs, close to root of the concept of “internet of things”:
1) more efficient and miniaturized sensors
2) networks that interconnect all objects to one another.

In the same way that the IT revolution has been driven by consumer needs, so too will the energy revolution.
As blogs, social networks and video platforms have enabled people to produce information and customize their content, new technologies will make possible energy self-production and customization of energy usages and consumption.

Smart cities will also enable the use of open data which will create new urban services such as better transport connections, accident risk warnings and home monitoring for part-time and full-time careers. Local councils will have greater responsibility for ensuring the collection and the public availability of this data.
Furthermore, by leveraging this data, businesses will be able to offer personalized services for users, for example smart meter data could permit utilities to offer new tariffs, such as time-of use pricing which will encourage end-users to use energy in off-peak times when it is cheaper.

energy table

That sounds awesome, but how exactly do we implement Energy 3.0?

The Energy 3.0 era will be made possible by two technological breakthroughs, close to root of the concept of “internet of things”:
1) more efficient and miniaturized sensors and
2) networks that interconnect all objects to one another.

Also, implementing Energy 3.0 requires working on open and non-proprietary standards. It means training electricians, heating engineers, construction companies, facility managers, so they are able to connect the relevant equipment together. Being facilitators of energy, electrical distributors play a key role in informing, training installers in the electrical infrastructure, and in the integration of electrical devices and creation of easy-to-install, end-to-end electrical solutions. We are currently at the beginning of this revolution enabling the aggregation of energy production and its consumption, but it’s rapidly gaining momentum.

Examples of cities implementing Energy 3.0 include Glasgow in the UK and Boston in the US.

Glasgow authorities outlined how public, private and academic sectors can combine expertise and use cutting-edge technology to enhance day-to-day life in the city. The city’s program covers several projects including: the creation of an integrated operations center managing a new futuristic public space CCTV network and roads management systems; greater use of green technology such as white street lighting; and a city dashboard giving real time information on traffic flow, weather alerts, accident and emergency waiting times, rail and bus services and road gritting etc.

Boston ranked first out of 34 of the most populated US cities in the City Energy Efficiency Scorecard. It was ranked on its policies and other actions to advance energy efficiency, across five policy areas: local government operations; buildings; energy and water utilities; transportation; and the community as a whole. The city of Boston has partnered with companies such as IBM and Schneider Electric to reach its smart city goals.


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