by Brianna Crandall — December 18, 2017 — Global professional services firm Navigant Consulting just released Navigating the Urban Energy Transformation, a white paper detailing the path to building smart and sustainable future communities, providing specific recommendations for cities, utilities, and other stakeholders.
By 2030, more than 5 billion people will live in cities, and the convergence of energy and city innovation will be vital to creating a low-carbon global economy that is prosperous, sustainable, and capable of providing a good quality of life to all communities.
According to the white paper, the low-carbon city of 2030 will need to manage a complex set of interdependencies between diverse aspects of city operations, infrastructure, and Energy Cloud platforms. It will require technological and policy innovation, new forms of partnerships, and new energy business models aligned to a platform-based and digital economy.
Jan Vrins, managing director and leader of Navigant’s global Energy practice, stated:
The shift to a clean, distributed, intelligent, and mobile energy ecosystem is essential, not only for meeting climate goals, but also priorities such as improving air quality, reducing congestion, and ensuring the future economic competitiveness of a city. Building smart and sustainable cities of the future will be complex, challenging, and exciting as cities and energy stakeholders work together to advance progress.
According to the white paper, there are five key areas where the energy transformation is influencing future cities and in return where cities are becoming more influential in shaping this transformation. These areas also spring from and affect the way facilities management (FM) is carried out in cities:
- Accelerating the shift to renewable energy: Cities are increasingly proactive in setting targets for their power utilities to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy to help meet carbon emissions targets.
- Driving the adoption of smart grid technologies: Support for renewable generation by city authorities increases the pressure on utilities to deliver an infrastructure that can integrate new resources and accelerate changes in a city’s energy services.
- Increasing energy efficiency: Collaboration between city departments and local energy utilities to improve energy efficiency is one of the simplest and most effective measures for reducing the energy footprint of a city.
- Increasing resilience: Resilience requires an assessment of each city’s complex and interconnected infrastructure and institutional systems, and energy networks are at the heart of this complex web of infrastructure interdependencies.
- Shaping local energy markets: Cities are becoming active players in their local energy markets, collaborating with existing utilities, but also increasingly willing to challenge and, in some cases, even compete with those providers.
Eric Woods, research director with Navigant Research, remarked:
Building tomorrow’s sustainable smart cities will require a combination of new energy solutions, new technologies, new approaches to city management and operations, and the development of Energy Cloud platforms on which partners can support cities in their transformation to a low carbon economy. And if cities are to deliver in their ambitious climate targets, the work must start now.
With over 600 consultants, Navigant’s global Energy practice team collaborates with utilities, government and NGOs, industries and large corporations, product manufacturers, investors, and oil and gas companies to help them thrive in a rapidly changing energy environment. Navigant’s specialists help clients transform their businesses, manage complexity and accelerate operational performance, meet compliance requirements, and transform systems and governance to address upcoming changes as the energy transformation takes hold.