Smart City Renewable Development Management


Ni jing chu ren ca

Difficult situations force people to rise to the challenges.

Crisis breeds wisdom.

Executive overviews

Climate change and global warming have posed essential and major challenges to leading cities around the world. Different extreme weather events induced by climate change and global warming have caused serious damages and disruptions to major cities, especially those in emerging economies. These events include hurricanes, typhoons, extreme heat summers, freezing cold winters, extreme heavy downpours, flooding and droughts. In addition, the rising urbanisation, population growths and increasing pollutions have put more pressures on cities globally. As a result, new green smart city designs and transformations, with clean renewable energy applications and energy-efficient green buildings, have been important priorities for leading cities globally. These various new smart city developments with renewable energy integrations will be discussed further in this chapter, together with city examples.

Climate change threats and challenges to global cities

Climate change and global warming have serious implications for all the major cities around the world, especially for those in the emerging economics. Some of most serious negative impacts and damages on leading cities around the world have been caused by the various extreme weather events induced by climate change and global warming. These have included hurricanes, typhoons, extreme heat summers, freezing cold winters, extreme heavy downpours, flooding and droughts. These extreme weather incidents have caused serious damages to various cities across the world with heavy financial cost damages, especially those in emerging economies.

In addition, climate change and global warming have led to rising sea levels globally. Scientists have measured that the average sea levels around the world have risen by about 8 inches or 20 cm in the past 100 years. Looking ahead, climate scientists are expecting sea levels to rise further at faster rates in the next 100 years. These will be driven by climate change and global warming causing the accelerated melting of the polar ice caps and sea warming. Ocean scientists have conservatively estimated that sea levels globally could potentially rise by a further 1-4 feet, or 30-100 cm by 2100. These high sea level rises will be large enough to flood many coastal cities plus various small Pacific island states, such as Vanatu. Examples of cities facing serious flooding risks in developed economies included Boston, New York, Hilton Head, Miami, London, Hong Kong, etc. Major cities in emerging economies facing serious flooding risks include Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila, etc. These cities have all been forecasted to experience much more frequent and serious flooding risks by 2100.

Looking ahead to 2050 and 2100, many coastal and low-lying cities around the world will be seriously affected by rising flooding risks and incidents. These cities will have to invest heavily on various flood defences, such as seawalls and catchment ponds, so as to survive and control these potential serious flooding events.

Major cities around the world are also going green and actively transforming their energy mix as part of their commitments to the Paris Agreement. Many leading cities globally have been transforming their total energy mixes and energy consumptions away from fossil fuels to use more clean renewable energies, such as solar, wind, hydro, bioenergy and geothermal. These clean renewable energy applications will help these cities to better meet their rising future energy requirements generated by their growing populations and economic growths. In addition, these clean energy transformations should help these cities to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions plus minimise their climate change and global warming impacts. Some of the top green cities in the world included Copenhagen in Denmark, Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Stockholm in Sweden, Vancouver in Canada, Curitiba in Brazil, Reykjavik in Iceland, London in the UK and San Francisco in the USA. Looking ahead, experts have forecasted that over 100 cities across the world in both developed countries and emerging economies, ranging from Addis Ababa to Auckland, will be using more than 70% renewables in their future energy mixes (ADB, Green Cities, 2012).

Many governments and cities have recognised the serious threats of climate change and global warming. They have agreed to work together to achieve their Paris Agreement commitments. They have also agreed in the COP24 meeting in 2018 to try to limit their emissions so as to reduce global warming to below 2°C and then further to 1.5°C as proposed in the IPCC 1.5C report. In line with these new global consensus and agreements, many city leaders and municipal governments have been improving their environmental management and setting new firmer emission reduction targets plus enacting new municipal renewable policies.

A good example is that in the USA, some 58 cities and towns, including Atlanta and San Diego, have committed to move to 100% clean energy in future as part of their climate change and clean renewable energy drives. Meanwhile,

Burlington in Vermont has claimed to be the first US city to get its energy from entirely renewable sources. Another good emerging economy example is in Latin America where almost half of Brazil’s major cities have been powered entirely by hydropower and clean renewable power sources.

There are large variations in how various cities, in developed countries and emerging economies, are transforming their energy mixes with renewable energy applications. A good example is that most of the 100 leading cities in North America, which have been reporting their energy mixes, have been shown to be using less than 70% clean renewable energy in their city’s energy mix. However, some of the leading cities in emerging economies have already been using more than 70% renewable energies in their energy mixes. Another good example is that a majority of Latin American cities, which have been reporting their energy mixes, have reported that they have already passed the 70% threshold and are using more than 70% renewable energy in their energy mixes.

Energy experts analysing these different city energy transformation trends have found that many leading cities in the developing world and emerging economics have been actively supporting their clean energy transformations by capitalising on their local natural resources and maximising renewable energy applications. The pioneering clean energy transformation activities in these major cities in the emerging economies have been largely driven by local economic needs plus the political commitments of their local and national governments.

Climate change and global warming are also imposing serious challenges to the availability of clean renewable energies to different key cities of the world. A good example is that in Latin America the production of green electricity from hydropower has been changing drastically between years due to the extreme droughts being caused by climate change in some key Latin American regions. These serious droughts have seriously affected the functioning of some hydropower plants. Looking ahead, cities in the emerging economies, especially in Latin America, have to further diversify their energy mixes into different clean renewable energy sources, including solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, bioenergy, etc. This should then help to provide more sustainable and continuous clean power generation, which should then help to provide good energy security for their local population whilst maximising renewable applications and minimising environmental pollutions (CDP, Global City Report, 2016).

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