Smart Energy in Sustainable Cities
Dr. Evangelo Damigos; PhD | Head of Digital Futures Research Desk
- Sustainable Growth and Tech Trends
Publication | Update: Sep 2020
More than half of the world`s population lives in cities – a share that is expected to rise to 70 % by 2050. Already now, cities are responsible for 78% of primary energy usage, and produce 70 % of all CO2 emissions.
Cities are therefore faced with the challenge of ensuring their inhabitants` quality of life whilst moving away from fossil fuels towards more renewable energy sources and to more efficient and smarter energy systems. Many energy technologies are still not sufficiently economically viable, due to their high up-front costs and low profits or low savings achieved. Others are only viable if looking at a long time period. For this reason, financing is a major issue in realizing an energy transition.
When we think about energy usage in cities, it is two different impacts, firstly in terms of the impact on the environment — both in terms of their impact on global warming, and locally in terms of air quality and pollution — and secondly in terms of the provision, resilience, and affordability of energy, given its potential to transform the lives of a city's inhabitants.
Energy usage in cities is of enormous significance; according to UN Habitat, cities are responsible for 78% of primary energy usage globally, and also emit between 50-60% of total global greenhouse emissions, rising to around 80% if we include indirect emissions generated by urban populations. Accordingly, how much energy we use in cities, and how we generate that energy has an enormous impact not just within cities, but on the planet overall.
Just over a billion people around the world still lack access to electricity, (with half of those living in sub-Saharan Africa). However, lack of access to electricity is a predominantly rural issue, with 96.3% of the world's urban populations having access to electricity in 2014, versus only 73% for rural populations.
Urban emissions from emerging cities are already reaching the rates of large developed cities. For example Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin have per capita emissions similar to those of large European and some Northern American cities.67
According to the World Bank, cities meet approximately 72% of their total energy demand from coal, oil, and natural gas, and while they also use about 70% of the energy generated from renewable resources around the world, those sources still only represent a very small proportion of the total energy consumed.
The reality for most cities is that they are under severe space constraints (especially the rapidly expanding ones) which means that large scale renewable sources such as wind turbines are often impractical, not least from a sound, light reflection, and safety issues.
While solar is easily deployable in cities, the density of humans means that roof space per capita is likely to be significantly lower (think tower blocks), and hence the ability to meet the needs of consumers from solar is more limited than it is rurally. Hence the majority of cities obtain their electricity from large-scale power plants transmitted over a distance, and given this, the reality is that while cities can make a difference to their energy use and their carbon footprints as we shall see later, the issue from an electricity perspective at least, is largely a central government one in terms of the national generation mix. As we shall also see though, electricity is actually a relatively small part of the overall energy issue in cities.
Smart Energy Systems
Smart energy grids have the potential to improve the efficient use of energy and ultimately improve the lives of citizens. The basic concept of a smart grid is to add monitoring, analysis, control, and communication capabilities to a national electricity delivery system to maximize efficiency while at the same time reducing energy consumption. It will allow utility companies to move electricity more efficiently to consumers and will allow consumers to have access to better information that could improve their energy usage. The analytics of smart grid data can also help predict the demand for power supply in the future.
Learning technologies such as Nest and Hive also enable consumers to manage and save on the energy usage in their homes. These systems learn the consumption pattern and temperatures that are used in a home and are able to turn the temperature down when there is no one in the house.
Other smart energy systems that are currently being marketed include Virtual Power Plants. These systems consist of a network of decentralized power generation units which could include combined heat and power (CHP units), solar energy, wind farms, as well as large-scale battery storage systems. They relieve the load on the grid by smartly distributing the power generated during periods of peak load.
Cities should set up a sustainable energy action plan that includes at least the following aspects: energy sustainability indicators, energy efficiency, future energy consumption, energy efficiency potentials, potentials to produce energy from local renewables, storage capacities and a set of firm targets, including a time horizon to reach the target by. Local stakeholders should be involved in the development of the plan. Municipalities should employ energy officers for coordination of energy demand, energy efficiency, local energy production, infrastructure and related project funding. They should have an overarching remit for the whole geographic area of the municipality and work closely with planning departments. Existing local networks should be tapped into or new platforms should be set up in order to bring stakeholders together and make them communicate with each other, to identify synergies and avoid misunderstandings and conflicts within projects.
Objectives and Study Scope
This study has assimilated knowledge and insight from business and subject-matter experts, and from a broad spectrum of market initiatives. Building on this research, the objectives of this market research report is to provide actionable intelligence on opportunities alongside the market size of various segments, as well as fact-based information on key factors influencing the market- growth drivers, industry-specific challenges and other critical issues in terms of detailed analysis and impact.
The report in its entirety provides a comprehensive overview of the current global condition, as well as notable opportunities and challenges.
The analysis reflects market size, latest trends, growth drivers, threats, opportunities, as well as key market segments. The study addresses market dynamics in several geographic segments along with market analysis for the current market environment and future scenario over the forecast period.
The report also segments the market into various categories based on the product, end user, application, type, and region.
The report also studies various growth drivers and restraints impacting the market, plus a comprehensive market and vendor landscape in addition to a SWOT analysis of the key players. This analysis also examines the competitive landscape within each market. Market factors are assessed by examining barriers to entry and market opportunities. Strategies adopted by key players including recent developments, new product launches, merger and acquisitions, and other insightful updates are provided.
Research Process & Methodology
We leverage extensive primary research, our contact database, knowledge of companies and industry relationships, patent and academic journal searches, and Institutes and University associate links to frame a strong visibility in the markets and technologies we cover.
We draw on available data sources and methods to profile developments. We use computerised data mining methods and analytical techniques, including cluster and regression modelling, to identify patterns from publicly available online information on enterprise web sites.
Historical, qualitative and quantitative information is obtained principally from confidential and proprietary sources, professional network, annual reports, investor relationship presentations, and expert interviews, about key factors, such as recent trends in industry performance and identify factors underlying those trends - drivers, restraints, opportunities, and challenges influencing the growth of the market, for both, the supply and demand sides.
In addition to our own desk research, various secondary sources, such as Hoovers, Dun & Bradstreet, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Statista, are referred to identify key players in the industry, supply chain and market size, percentage shares, splits, and breakdowns into segments and subsegments with respect to individual growth trends, prospects, and contribution to the total market.
Research Portfolio Sources:
Global Business Reviews, Research Papers, Commentary & Strategy Reports
M&A and Risk Management | Regulation
The future outlook “forecast” is based on a set of statistical methods such as regression analysis, industry specific drivers as well as analyst evaluations, as well as analysis of the trends that influence economic outcomes and business decision making.
The Global Economic Model is covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure. We aim update our market forecast to include the latest market developments and trends.
Review of independent forecasts for the main macroeconomic variables by the following organizations provide a holistic overview of the range of alternative opinions:
As a result, the reported forecasts derive from different forecasters and may not represent the view of any one forecaster over the whole of the forecast period. These projections provide an indication of what is, in our view most likely to happen, not what it will definitely happen.
Short- and medium-term forecasts are based on a “demand-side” forecasting framework, under the assumption that supply adjusts to meet demand either directly through changes in output or through the depletion of inventories.
Long-term projections rely on a supply-side framework, in which output is determined by the availability of labour and capital equipment and the growth in productivity.
Long-term growth prospects, are impacted by factors including the workforce capabilities, the openness of the economy to trade, the legal framework, fiscal policy, the degree of government regulation.
Direct contribution to GDP
The method for calculating the direct contribution of an industry to GDP, is to measure its ‘gross value added’ (GVA); that is, to calculate the difference between the industry’s total pretax revenue and its total boughtin costs (costs excluding wages and salaries).
Forecasts of GDP growth: GDP = CN+IN+GS+NEX
GDP growth estimates take into account:
All relevant markets are quantified utilizing revenue figures for the forecast period. The Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) within each segment is used to measure growth and to extrapolate data when figures are not publicly available.
Our market segments reflect major categories and subcategories of the global market, followed by an analysis of statistical data covering national spending and international trade relations and patterns. Market values reflect revenues paid by the final customer / end user to vendors and service providers either directly or through distribution channels, excluding VAT. Local currencies are converted to USD using the yearly average exchange rates of local currencies to the USD for the respective year as provided by the IMF World Economic Outlook Database.
Industry Life Cycle Market Phase
Market phase is determined using factors in the Industry Life Cycle model. The adapted market phase definitions are as follows:
The Global Economic Model
The Global Economic Model brings together macroeconomic and sectoral forecasts for quantifying the key relationships.
The model is a hybrid statistical model that uses macroeconomic variables and inter-industry linkages to forecast sectoral output. The model is used to forecast not just output, but prices, wages, employment and investment. The principal variables driving the industry model are the components of final demand, which directly or indirectly determine the demand facing each industry. However, other macroeconomic assumptions — in particular exchange rates, as well as world commodity prices — also enter into the equation, as well as other industry specific factors that have been or are expected to impact.
Forecasts of GDP growth per capita based on these factors can then be combined with demographic projections to give forecasts for overall GDP growth.
Wherever possible, publicly available data from ofﬁcial sources are used for the latest available year. Qualitative indicators are normalised (on the basis of: Normalised x = (x - Min(x)) / (Max(x) - Min(x)) where Min(x) and Max(x) are, the lowest and highest values for any given indicator respectively) and then aggregated across categories to enable an overall comparison. The normalised value is then transformed into a positive number on a scale of 0 to 100. The weighting assigned to each indicator can be changed to reﬂect different assumptions about their relative importance.
The principal explanatory variable in each industry’s output equation is the Total Demand variable, encompassing exogenous macroeconomic assumptions, consumer spending and investment, and intermediate demand for goods and services by sectors of the economy for use as inputs in the production of their own goods and services.
Elasticity measures the response of one economic variable to a change in another economic variable, whether the good or service is demanded as an input into a final product or whether it is the final product, and provides insight into the proportional impact of different economic actions and policy decisions.
Demand elasticities measure the change in the quantity demanded of a particular good or service as a result of changes to other economic variables, such as its own price, the price of competing or complementary goods and services, income levels, taxes.
Demand elasticities can be influenced by several factors. Each of these factors, along with the specific characteristics of the product, will interact to determine its overall responsiveness of demand to changes in prices and incomes.
The individual characteristics of a good or service will have an impact, but there are also a number of general factors that will typically affect the sensitivity of demand, such as the availability of substitutes, whereby the elasticity is typically higher the greater the number of available substitutes, as consumers can easily switch between different products.
The degree of necessity. Luxury products and habit forming ones, typically have a higher elasticity.
Proportion of the budget consumed by the item. Products that consume a large portion of the consumer’s budget tend to have greater elasticity.
Elasticities tend to be greater over the long run because consumers have more time to adjust their behaviour.
Finally, if the product or service is an input into a final product then the price elasticity will depend on the price elasticity of the final product, its cost share in the production costs, and the availability of substitutes for that good or service.
Prices are also forecast using an input-output framework. Input costs have two components; labour costs are driven by wages, while intermediate costs are computed as an input-output weighted aggregate of input sectors’ prices. Employment is a function of output and real sectoral wages, that are forecast as a function of whole economy growth in wages. Investment is forecast as a function of output and aggregate level business investment.