Smart City energy initiatives are being implemented worldwide to make cities more efficient, livable and sustainable. Energy city administrators are focused on transforming their ageing networks into smart grids and smart meters to provide energy efficient, economical energy management.
Smart energy brings to mind energy and resource efficient cities that are increasingly powered by renewable energy sources with minimum carbon emissions. These efficient, smart cities rely on integrated and robust resource systems that improve the core business processes, as well as insight-driven and innovative approaches to strategic planning.
The city administrators role in intelligent energy initiatives is to leverage the Smart City Vision as a tool to implement initiatives that help reduce CO2 emissions, energy consumption and increase the usage of renewable energy sources.
A sample scenario illustrates how a city administrator can monitor energy usage and develop data-based insights and initiatives that can be used to change consumer behavior in order to reduce consumers electricity usage and carbon emissions.
In this scenario, the city administrator analyzes trends across various residential areas based on data from smart meters. He discovers patterns that show a specific segment of citizens living in a residential complex return home from the office around 8:00 PM. After relaxing, they warm their dinners in the microwave oven at around 9:00 PM, eat dinner watching TV, and around 10:00 PM go to bed with their air conditioning left on until early morning. This is the general trend for most of the households in this complex and the electricity usage is quite high from 9:00 PM 10:30 PM.
The city administrator analyzes this trend across other residential areas for a period of a month analyzing smart meter readings and finds similar patterns. The administrator infers a breach in the threshold of carbon emission in the city during the 9.30 10.30 PM time period due to the excessive usage of electric appliances.
He decides to offer a discounted price on electricity usage during an off-peak times i.e. 8:00 PM- 9:00 PM to encourage citizens to use their electric appliances during this time so that the carbon emission gets shared over a period of time and thresholds are not breached. Once people start taking the advantage of these offers, the citizens save on their electricity charges and the city sees reductions in carbon emissions.
The city administrator can also implement another initiative where the families in residential complexes known to be using energy at peak times are given a Smart Energy Monitors with Greendicators that turn red when energy thresholds are exceeded and green when energy usage is within the threshold limit. The Smart Energy Monitors can help the administrator detect citizens behavioral changes in energy consumption.
The benefits of energy monitoring initiatives can be summarized into 3 categories:
Utility benefits – Delivering more reliable and remote (dis)connection, better outage detection and recovery.
Consumer benefits – Engaging in energy management, leading to electricity usage reduction or load shifting along with lowering of bills.
Social benefits – Enabling reduction of peak usage that helps lower carbon emissions through integration of cleaner distributed usage of power and household usage reductions.
Efficient use of energy is critical to achieve smart energy goals because reduced energy use results in long-term cost savings, lowers the need for new generating plants, and enhances the odds of meeting our future energy needs through renewable sources.
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