The spread of smart city technologies and policies, developed in response to the rapid growth and change happening in cities around the world, is helping to drive sweeping and fundamental changes in the energy landscape, according to Navigant Research.
A new Navigant white paper – Smart Cities and the Energy Cloud – examines critical issues facing cities and utilities as they develop the energy policies needed both today, and in the future.
"Cities around the world are recognizing the importance of – and the opportunities offered by – changes in energy infrastructure and energy markets," says Eric Woods, research director with Navigant Research. "In addition to being the focus of extensive smart grid pilots, cities are becoming increasingly proactive in terms of the targets they are setting for their utilities to shift from fossil fuel to renewable energy, and are encouraging local generation on both the residential and commercial level."
Support for renewable generation by city authorities places increased pressure on utilities to deliver an infrastructure that can integrate these new resources in a manageable way, according to the white paper. Grid reinforcement is often required to support the integration of large amounts of renewable energy, but this can be offset by the wider use of smart technologies – smart grids – for both network management and demand management initiatives, such as automated demand response.
The emerging vision is of smart cities that integrate large and small-scale energy initiatives ranging from improvements in national infrastructure through citywide energy efficiency programs to local energy generation. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.