This new report focuses on the idea of “smart cities.” To learn more, click the download button above or read the full summary below.
As municipalities seek to grow and invest in infrastructure, there is pressure to modernize and incorporate new technologies, integrate sustainable resources and methods in order to increase the city’s attractiveness and productivity, and improve citizen satisfaction (and prospects for elected officials’ re-elections). Recently, there has been much discussion of smart cities. In this paper, we provide a brief introduction to smart cities and a framework to help visualize potential components and identify a simple, step-wise path to successful support by energy utilities of their communities’ efforts to pursue “smart city” initiatives.
In many ways, the smart city is today what the smart grid was a few years ago—a term that is broadly used but without a consistent definition.
Like the smart grid, defining what exactly makes a city “smart” is inherently challenging. “Smart” is open to interpretation. “Smart city” priorities are driven by the unique interests, challenges, and capabilities of a particular municipality. The menu of potential projects, applications, and technologies may be broad and diverse.
Further, many smart city projects are still in the early (pilot) phases, and few of the newest technologies have been fully rolled out or implemented at commercial scales. Finally, smart city is an evolving concept and a moving target. It is difficult to state with certainty today what the smart city of tomorrow, with all of its promises and possibilities, may look like.
Here is ScottMadden’s working definition:
Despite the variation in what a smart city is, we observe some objectives:
While many models identify a comprehensive suite of capabilities, core to smart city infrastructure are the sectors, objectives, and technologies outlined in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Smart City Core Infrastructure Components
In addition to these sectors, communications, healthcare, and education are also frequently referenced in smart city conceptual frameworks.
There are many technologies that can be considered elements of a potential smart city plan, energy—given its technological maturity, pervasive application, and existing infrastructure—is often a good point of focus for city planners. Energy utilities possess a physical network with a ubiquitous footprint underpinned by a data control network. Most smart city visions call for one or both of these network capabilities. It may be less efficient for the city to build a data network from scratch than to piggyback on the utility data network already in place. Especially since those networks are being funded by utility customer-citizens and in many cases are being digitally upgraded as utilities build out advanced metering infrastructure.
What makes a city smart? It’s not about technology IQ, but rather the careful application of the principles of purpose, planning, and process in developing and implementing initiatives that make a city smart:
Cities are taking one of two approaches to developing smart city initiatives based upon their risk appetite, budget, clarity of potential benefits, and stakeholder buy-in to the smart city concept:
As utilities consider their roles in smart city initiatives, they should first focus on the build-out of core assets and capabilities, emphasizing their advantage as incumbent network owners and operators, to find opportunities to get more out of the utility energy network.
By focusing first on quick wins with proven technologies that leverage the existing network, utilities can engage stakeholders and establish their roles as partners and leaders in the process. And they can produce economic benefits to fund further pilots and initiatives.
As opportunities and technologies continue to evolve, utilities will then be well-positioned to continue to leverage their assets and capabilities into new areas.Phase 1 – Getting More out of the Utility Energy Network
Figure 2: Smart City Phased Approach for Utilities
In this first phase, utilities should examine information and data resources provided by existing technologies and assets such as smart meters to identify opportunities to get more out of the utility energy network. Proven solutions that add automation and controllability to devices like water heaters and street lights can provide utilities with quick wins, demonstrating the ability to improve services while reducing costs and minimizing risk in early smart city initiatives.
In the second phase, utilities can broaden their approach to consider initiatives beyond energy-focused projects. Utilities may identify additional opportunities to leverage their information and data resources to augment other city services, and they may also consider further testing and building new capabilities on platforms implemented in the first phase. Utilities may identify other opportunities to further leverage their assets and workforces in new ways to support smart city initiatives.
In the final phase, as utility, municipal, and regulatory goals and objectives for smart city initiatives continue to evolve and align, utilities may consider further expanding into entirely new areas such as transportation and customer/ citizen engagement. As new innovations and technologies are identified, utilities should have strategy and a plan for identifying, piloting, and testing new concepts. As technologies advance beyond the “science experiment stage” and successful pilots, however, utilities may choose to venture farther afield, building new partnerships and expanding beyond the existing assets and the traditional energy network.
This three-phase approach allows the utility to get more value out of its network, and offer more and better choices to customers and allows the city, and the people who live there, to get more value out smart city initiatives at less cost.
For utilities looking for a “phase one” entry point into the world of smart cities, they need look no further than one of the initial components of their network—street lights. Street lighting projects are a popular entry point into the smart city conversation because of their enormous potential to deliver a strong (and fast) return on investment.
The combination of continuing urbanization and the increase in embedded intelligence in assets of all kinds will continue to push cities to consider smart city pilots and programs.
There remain open questions as the smart city concept faces realities of implementation:
Still, smart city investments are accelerating at a rapid pace, with a constant flow of U.S. cities and cities around the globe announcing smart city plans and initiatives, particularly over the last year. While the uncertainty of technology, innovation, and political support is not likely to decline, utilities need to forge a path forward, providing their organizations with clear direction, while maintaining balance and flexibility to react to unforeseen developments and opportunities in the future.
About ScottMadden’s Energy Practice
We know energy from the ground up. Since 1983, we have been energy consultants. We have served more than 400 clients, including 20 of the top 20 energy utilities. We have performed more than 3,000 projects across every energy utility business unit and every function. We have helped our clients develop strategies, improve operations, reorganize companies, and implement initiatives. Our broad and deep energy utility expertise is not theoretical—it is experience based.
IssyGrid Initiative – Moulineaux, France
The IssyGrid project in Issy-les-Moulineaux, a suburb south of Paris, combines solar panels on rooftops with power storage in recycled Renault car batteries and a local power grid that manages electricity produced and consumed in the neighborhood. IssyGrid—which includes 1,000 apartments and five office buildings with a total space of more than 200,000 square meters—will test the integration of new power, grid, and monitoring technologies with a view to rolling these out commercially.
Per an April 2016 IssyGrid press conference, the grid infrastructure is now complete, and the first energy-related data, which have been published in real time, will now be broadly accessible. The residents, students, users, companies, and public facilities covered by this system are now in a position to interact in order to help optimize energy use via a sizeable smart grid with cutting-edge infrastructure. Less than four years after its launch, IssyGrid has now assembled all the components of an urban smart grid in the Seine Ouest and Fort d’Issy Business District in Issy-les-Moulineaux.
The grid includes:
IssyGrid infrastructure consists of:
This system enables consumption peaks to be smoothed and ensures the general balance of the grid is maintained, while reducing the district’s carbon footprint. The residents in connected homes can see their average electricity consumption throughout the day and the level of available solar power generation on an hourly basis, six hours in advance, giving them the option to shift their electricity consumption.
IssyGrid’s scope is still being expanded, with more planned new connected buildings and facilities. Ultimately, IssyGrid will cover 2,000 homes (housing 5,000 residents) and 160,000 m2 of offices (10,000 employees). The IssyGrid application scope may gradually be extended to other sites in the city, or even to other energy grids in the Seine Ouest and Fort d’Issy District in the future.
Amsterdam Smart City (ASC) Initiative – Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Cities and Links
|Solar DG + Storage||Residential solar PV + behind-the-meter storage||Yes||Denver (link)|
|Smart Street Lights||Networked LED lights and sensors – A recently completed pilot project delivered smart street lighting, sensors, and a pubic gigabit Wi-Fi network to a three-block area, which reduced lighting energy costs by 50%||Yes||Washington D.C. (link)|
|Smart Water Systems||Water and wastewater infrastructure automation||No||Philadelphia (link)|
|DSM/Smart Thermostats||DSM program expansion via subsidies for smart thermostats||Yes||San Antonio/ CPS Energy (link)|
|Smart Transportation||Partnership with Waze app for data sharing with city traffic engineers||No||Boston (link)|
|Smart Transportation||“SmartSantander project” measures traffic, parking, noise, temperature, etc. to direct city services more efficiently||No||Santander, Spain (link)|
|Smart Transportation||“Green Park Baton Rouge” program provides EV charging stations||Yes||Baton Rouge (link)|
|Smart Transportation||Development of the first electric bus rapid transit in the United States||Yes||Indianapolis (link)|
|Communications/Energy Demand||“16 Tech” is a comprehensive hub that will pioneer citywide digital infrastructure||Yes||Indianapolis (link)|
|Smart Buildings||Implementing a citywide building automation system to monitor and control mechanical and electrical systems such as HVAC and lighting. Several city buildings will also be renovated for improved energy efficiency, and the results will be monitored through an online building analytics dashboard||Yes||Orlando (link)|
|Smart Street Lights||Using smart lighting technology as a tool to help fight crime, assist in emergencies, and better serve their citizens||Yes||Chattanooga, Fresno, Peoria, Pittsburg (link)|
|Smart Street Lights||Adding smart controls to street lights to enhance functionality and increase savings||Yes||Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Montgomery (link)|
|Smart Transportation/Citizen Engagement||Field testing smart transit shelters that include free Wi-Fi, digital displays that track and update bus arrival times, and intelligent lighting||Yes||Chicago (link)|
|Waste/Recycling||Using technology solutions to reduce illegal dumping – soliciting citizen reporting and motion-activated cameras||No||San Jose, Dallas (link)|
|Smart Building/Energy Demand||Accelerated Conservation and Efficiency program (ACE) streamlines funding for energy capital projects that are independently identified, managed, and implemented by partner city agencies. ACE encourages agency staff to identify key energy-saving projects based on their understanding of building needs||Yes||New York (link)|
|Citizen Engagement||Complaint collection and resolution via mobile app and social media||No||Buenos Aires (link)|
|Citizen Engagement||New York City Wiki survey to solicit ideas in support of PlaNYC 2030 (citywide sustainability plan)||No||New York (link)|
|Smart Street Lights||World’s first pilot of GE’s intelligent LED solution for cities, including roadway hazard identification functionality and other sensing and data-gathering capabilities||Yes||San Diego (link)|
|Water/Wastewater||Wireless meter-reading system that provides citizens with hourly readings to identify potential issues||No||Cary, NC (link)|
|Water/Wastewater||Reducing lost revenue from zero-read meters and achieving operational cost savings with AMI/smart meters, automated workforce management, and integration with enterprise asset management system||No||Albuquerque (link)|
|Energy Demand/DSM||“Envision Charlotte” public-private partnership between heads of business, building owners and managers, utilities chiefs, city planning professionals, and more to achieve 20% energy reduction by 2016||Yes||Charlotte, NC (link)|
|Communications||Implementation support for “Smart Energy Now” (part of “Envision Charlotte” initiative), including wireless network transport to cloud, kiosks, and monitors (Verizon)||No||Charlotte, NC (link)|
|Communications||High-performance wireless broadband network for the city of Venice, Italy. The Wi-Fi solution comprises a network of fixed and mobile nodes that can handle more than 200 gigabytes of data and 40,000 subscribers a day (ABB’s “Tropos” Solution)||No||Venice, Italy (link)|
|Infrastructure||Expansion of Dubai’s international airport, to become the busiest in the world (by passengers and cargo), including capacity to handle 100 Airbus A380s at once||No||Dubai, UAE (link)|
|Infrastructure||$40 billion project aimed at achieving “aerotropolis” (airport integrated with city center) and “ubiquitous city” (concept of integrating many different data sources in a single mobile platform, including every device, component, and service)||No||Songdo, South Korea (link)|
|Energy Supply, Energy Demand, Communications||World’s first zero-carbon, zero-waste city||Yes||Masdar City, UAE (link)|
|Communications||The city of Chicago is working with the Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago to deploy the Array of Things—a citywide network of 500 lamppost-mounted sensors that monitor air quality, among other conditions; and it is analyzing its non-emergency complaint-call data to identify environmental issues, such as pest infestations connected to the incidence of asthma||No||Chicago (link)|
|Citizen Engagement/Data Analytics||The New York Fire Department started using data mining and predictive analytics to determine which of New York City’s one million buildings are most likely to erupt in a major fire. They now examine 7,500 factors across 17 city-agency data streams and use artificial intelligence to track trends citywide||No||New York (link)|
|Community Solar||Exelon City Solar, the largest urban solar plant in the United States, opened in 2010 and spread across a 41-acre brownfield site that had been vacant for more than three decades. The plant now produces 10 MWs of power, cutting 14,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually and creating several hundred local jobs||Yes||Chicago (link)|
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