Rising worldwide urban populations threaten to strain city systems on one hand, yet smart energy provides solutions on the other. Overcoming challenges that face local urban planners will have much to do with the widespread adoption of smart technology. Here are ways this innovative development will revolutionize energy consumption for cities:
New Demands for Urban Energy
Urbanization continues to move in new directions from last century's model of sprawling metropolitan areas. This century over 50 percent of the global population lives in cities, and this group is expected to grow to 60 percent by 2030. Urban planners must prepare for smart technology deployment by emphasizing local microgrids, energy communities, greater operational efficiency, and ability to respond to public demand for resources.
Microgrids represent a chance for residents to break away from the traditional grid system and use cheaper energy. Independent local grids can serve as temporary solutions to utility disasters, like the fallen power lines that caused multiple fires in California in 2017 and 2018. Microgrids with remote controls were used during the wildfires as backup power while people were evacuated.
Solar power is part of the new energy equation, spawning energy communities. Panasonic is developing a smart city project called CityNow near Denver, Colorado. It has already completed its Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town solar project near Tokyo, Japan that powers 1,000 off-grid homes up to three days. Panasonic reports this project has contributed to a 70 percent reduction of carbon emissions, while 30 percent of excess energy is returned to the grid.
This renewable energy paradigm allows customers to sell excess energy to neighbors. Brooklyn is developing an energy community using blockchain technology to make secure transactions with cryptocurrencies.
Efficiency and demand-side response are key concerns that will shape energy distribution. North Carolina's Envision Charlotte project of 2011 has provided a workable model for public-private smart city planning. The project as led to 20 percent energy reduction per year, carbon reduction and over $25 million in savings.
Age of Automation and Machine Learning
As technology steadily moves toward automated measuring systems and AI-based machine learning software, smart energy is easily fitting into the mix. Governments, building managers and homeowners all have an interest in cutting energy bills so they can spend money on other needs.
The solution to achieving energy efficiency is tied to monitoring data associated with temperatures, lighting, and electricity consumption. IoT sensors deliver real-time data to network endpoints and databases so that managers can make quicker decisions on how energy is used. Since big cities represent two-thirds of energy consumption and contribution to harmful greenhouse gases, it's crucial for these populated areas to prioritize shifting toward smarter technology.
As smart communities develop in the coming years, a big focus will be on new energy systems that reduce or eliminate wasted energy. An integral part of this development will be for companies to develop partnerships with technical experts who can guide firms toward more energy-efficient solutions. Industries playing a huge role in this development include utilities, transportation, and healthcare.
The purpose of smart energy is to improve quality of life by cutting costs and creating more comfortable environments for the masses. Contact us at Midwest Smart City Solutions to learn more about how smart technology will prepare your business for the future.