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Smart Cities – crucial toward net-zero emissions (IEA)

Smart Cities - crucial toward net-zero emissions (IEA)

According to a recent report developed by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the world’s cities can play a central role in accelerating the energy transition. In this regard, they can support the transformation into cleaner, lower carbon, more resilient, and inclusive energy systems.

Read more of our news content, here; Global CO2 emissions set to surge by 2023 – IEA

How can smart cities help develop a cleaner energy transition?

Indeed, as IEA underscores, this idea was discussed by climate and energy ministers from G20 nations who met last July 23rd in Naples. There, these ministers focused on steps that national governments can take to support urban areas; particularly, to deploy solutions and technologies to reduce emissions.

Accordingly, the agency recommended governments through its Empowering Cities for a Net Zero Future report to support new technologies and increased connectivity.

Also, the world’s metropolises are opening up massive opportunities to optimize urban planning, said IEA. Moreover, to improve services and extend access while at the same time creating revenue streams, jobs, and business ventures.

Under these circumstances, IEA developed the report at the request of the Italian G20 presidency. Accordingly, the agency showcased the opportunities and challenges facing cities and the actions that can be taken to support progress.

Thus, the IEA’s report builds on extensive consultations with over 125 leading experts and organizations. It also presents case studies from 100 cities in 40 countries.

In that way, the examples illustrate the wide range of opportunities and solutions that can help city-level authorities make full use of efficient and smart energy.

IEA – Smart cities can have a spill-over effect

Simultaneously, IEA noted that urban agglomerations are incubators for cutting-edge technologies. Hence, their density and size offer economies of scale that can cut the cost of infrastructure and innovation.

Moreover, with growing urbanization trends, the central role of cities will keep increasing, said the agency. In fact, cities today account for more than 50% of the planet’s population; also, for 80% of its economic output, two-thirds of global energy consumption, and more than 70% of annual global carbon emissions.

Moreover, by 2050, more than 70% of the world’s population will live in cities; thus resulting in massive demand growth for urban energy infrastructure.

In this sense, the new report contains a set of high-level recommendations to accelerate energy transitions. Besides, it looks to help governments leverage the full potential of cities to reduce emissions thanks to digitalization.

Accordingly, by 2024, IEA estimated that an anticipated 83 billion connected devices and sensors will be creating large, diverse datasets; particularly, on a wide range of topics, such as energy consumption, air quality, and traffic patterns.

Additional benefits

Moreover, next-generation energy systems can leverage the data from these connected buildings. Also, appliances and transportation systems reduce energy consumption, improve grid stability, and better manage city services. 

To illustrate, IEA underscored how projects like PT JakLingko Indonesia, help better leverage the energy transition. Indeed, this project helps reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions; specifically, by developing a more reliable, safe, and affordable rapid bus transit system.

As a result, this comprehensive integration process increased Transjakarta commuters from about 400 000 per day in December 2017; to just over 1 million per day in February 2020.

Lastly, IEA noted that as economies recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, CO2 emissions are rebounding rapidly. Indeed, the increase in global energy-related CO2 in 2021 could be the second-largest in recorded history.

Therefore, as the globe’s economic engine, cities can develop solutions that transform the energy landscape by creating new synergies to reduce emissions. Additionally, strong international cooperation and collaboration can play a crucial role in this, the agency noted.

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