Making cities energy smart

19 December 2011 | Eric Basha, Managing Director, Cities

​Today cities are home to more than half of the world’s population, and will be home to nearly 70 percent by 2050. This shift is putting tremendous pressure on cities across the globe as they prepare to support skyrocketing populations.

Making cities more energy smart is a critical step in meeting the future demands of the growing urban population. But it’s also important for building a foundation for better cities overall, ones that are energy-efficient, sustainable, and more livable. Designed to thrive for generations to come, exceptional cities will need a breadth of forward-thinking IT solutions to rise to the challenge. That’s why earlier this year our environmental team published a white paper on Making Cities Energy Smart. The paper looks at how the evolution of energy infrastructures will offer cities important opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, support economic development, and maintain a high quality of life.

Traditionally, an “energy infrastructure” consisted of power plants and the electricity grid – and little else. With the rise of smart grid technologies, however, this definition is broadening. Buildings, vehicles, and other resources are now being viewed not just as energy consumers, but as interconnected components of a smart grid, capable of adding energy back to a city’s grid.

This evolution offers promising solutions for cities that are striving to become more energy smart. However, it also presents challenges. Managing energy in “smart cities” will involve a delicate balancing act, in which a diverse set of energy supplies and demands across the population must be monitored, measured, analyzed, reported on and controlled on a massive scale - and in real-time. 

This process will demand and generate huge volumes of data that must be analyzed and acted upon. The good news is that cloud computing, in particular, offers many strategic advantages to help cities tackle this new data analytics workload. Check out our whitepaper to learn how your city can leverage cloud computing to become more energy smart, and address the challenges of managing a smarter grid.

Of course, managing energy effectively is only one aspect of making a city a better place to live and a better place to do business. City leaders have to make sense of the explosion of data across the urban spectrum - including crime, traffic, environment, health, social, economic data and more. To make truly informed policy and budget decisions, local government leaders must turn this data into information, and information into insight. Increasingly, technology is playing an essential role in informed decision making.

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Eric Basha
Managing Director, Cities