One of the first objectives in the TRANSFORM project was to start with a clear outline of each of the participating cities. The results describe the context per city in terms of climate, energy assets, ambitions, targets and main possibilities in terms of energy efficiency, flows, production. It describes in the same time the current status of city planning, energy planning tools, and existing energy data.
Once this data is tracked, a city will be able to define approximately where on the scale of development/progress it currently sits and see what is needed to further progress towards a fully integrated Smart Energy City.
But what is a Smart Energy City? What are the main Key Performance Indicators that should be met and how do they relate to where the current cities and the living labs are standing? A SWOT analysis is used to create oversight on gaps and barriers before becoming a Smart Energy City on both a strategic and a tactical level.
Definition of a Smart City and a Smart Energy City (SEC)
TRANSFORM vision on a Smart City is: “A liveable, resilient city, which is inclusive, climate friendly, insight-driven and fosters innovation and a sustainable economy.”
The Smart Energy City, as a core to the concept of the Smart City, provides its users with a liveable, affordable, climate-friendly and engaging environment that supports the needs and interests of its users and is based on a sustainable economy.
The Smart Energy City is highly energy and resource efficient, and is increasingly powered by renewable energy sources; it relies on integrated and resilient resource systems, as well as insight-driven and innovative approaches to strategic planning. The application of information, communication and technology are common means to meet these objectives.
The Smart Energy City leverages the Smart City Vision as a tool to help set the trajectory for an overall smarter city development. This development will encompass all social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainability, using these aspects as an overall goal of both the Smart Energy City and its key elements.
Key elements and indicators
The definition of the Smart Energy City is broken down to a number of key elements, which need to be achieved for a city to develop into a Smart Energy City. Each key element is defined and then broken down into a number of Key Performance Indicator categories (KPI’s). The indicators within each subject describe a qualitative development (in 4 levels), such as the development of a strategy.
This exercise should be driven by each individual city, as the definition and KPI’s were developed to be used as a tool for each city to work towards becoming a Smart Energy City.
It should be noted that for all KPI categories, and KPI’s, the focus point is the city, or the municipality. More specifically, what actions the city has taken and what corresponding results have been achieved. In many cases it may be that the city does not have total decision making power but it has the ability to influence these decisions. If this is the case, it is assumed that the city is still able to set up strategies and initiate initiatives to fulfill the political visions and goals for the city.
The city should select KPI’s based on its own individual vision, goals, possibilities, and challenges etc. it has. Key elements of the overall SEC definition:
- Resource system integration: Strategic physical and digital planning will look across resource flows to determine optimal energy and resource efficiency throughout city systems. The integration should cover physical, organizational and social aspects.
- Access to energy services: Access to reliable, affordable and sustainable energy services for all energy users, which includes electricity, heating, cooling and gas.
- Resilience: A resilient city is one which sustains the long-term well-being of its communities and economy by maintaining the functions of city systems through effective planning, and either directly or indirectly responses to shocks and stresses, especially including those caused by climate change.
- Energy Efficiency: A Smart Energy City will be highly resource efficient, and specifically, energy efficient.
- Renewable Energy: The Smart Energy City aims to reduce carbon emissions, and to be powered by renewable energy sources, where possible, while phasing out the use of polluting energy sources and productions such as natural gas and coal.
- Active and engaged users: The Smart Energy City enables and nurtures both formal and informal networks, where businesses, citizens and academia are active and engaged in the development of strategies, and the operational running of the city and its services.
- Sustainable Economy: The Smart Energy City has a low carbon economy that is financially competitive and resource-efficient, fostering an innovative clean tech sector, a strong number and availability of “green jobs” and growth in specific green industries and services.