The world is urbanising rapidly, driven in large part by the economic opportunities afforded by cities. City dwellers currently account for 50% of the global population. This number is likely increase to 5 billion by 2030 with most of this growth occurring on the edges of mega-cities and in second-tier cities of the developing world. With some 800,000 new urban residents every week, 7 out of 10 of the 9.6 billion people on the planet in 2050 will live in cities.
REEEP and ICLEI are co-hosting a SAIREC Parallel Session that will discuss the energy smart cities of the future.
Urbanisation brings opportunities for people to improve their standard of living and access to education and other services; however, it can also concentrate and exacerbate poverty in developing countries, where most of this growth is most rapid: Firstly, cities and metropolitan regions are centres of economic activity, and resource consumption within them accounts for about 75% of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.This poses challenges to securing adequate living conditions for existing and incoming people suffering from poverty. Secondly, cities have lower per-capita infrastructure costs, and more localised transportation needs, than rural areas, creating opportunity for cities to reduce GHG emissions and sustainably accommodate urban growth by deploying clean energy systems and technologies for services related to water, food, housing and transport. Thirdly, energy smart cities of the future will use digital technologies to enhance performance and well-being, reduce costs and resource consumption, improve resilience, and to engage with citizens. Energy supply is stable and uninterrupted, maximising locally available clean energy sources (including waste), and intelligent managing energy supply and demand.
Questions to be addressed by the session
Rapid urbanisation presents urban planners and policy makers with many challenges. Despite the existence of proven technologies and successful pilot implementation developing integrated perspectives in managing urban water, energy and food in the face of declining resources and increasing impacts of climate change remains a challenge.
- How can integrated planning processes be established to effectively prepare, test, monitor and evaluate the deployment of smart energy resilient systems in cities?
- There are multiple clean energy technology options available to city governments to meet their targets. What are key considerations for policy making (including regulations and incentive schemes)? What financing is available? How can cities integrate the most important private sector actors — Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) — to effectively deploy smart energy systems and efficiently utilise water, energy and food resources?
- How do clean energy ambitions and commitments for decarbonisation at the global, regional or national-levels trickle down to policy making at the municipal level, and how can cities most effectively contribute to those processes?
Download the SAIREC: Energy Smart Cities Issue Paper
To be confirmed - check back regularly for updates