Rethinking urban energy: How Europe is leading the way

14th February 2018 by Emma Goring

To achieve ambitious climate goals in line with the Paris Agreement, cities will need to implement major changes to their energy systems by 2030. One of the most important developments for cities looking to transform their energy profile is the interlinking of the energy sector with buildings and transportation.

In an article for Euractiv, Eric Woods, research director with Navigant Research, reviews the key recommendations for cities and their partners.

A zero-carbon city will need to address the role of fossil fuels in space heating and in transportation. Improvements in energy efficiency and the shift to renewable resources are essential steps. Even more importantly, it is the much closer connection between buildings and transportation and the energy network that will lay the foundation for a new Urban Energy Cloud.

“The good news is,” writes Woods, “that the transformation in the energy sector is making such ambitious programmes much more feasible and European cities are in the forefront.” Across Europe, many cities are already exploring the future interconnection of energy, buildings, and transport, including more than 70 cities involved in 12 EU Horizon 2020 Smart City and Communities projects. Sharing Cities, for example, is a €25 million EU Horizon 2020 project led by London, Milan, and Lisbon. The 3-year project, launched in January 2016, is developing, deploying, and integrating replicable solutions across the energy, transport, data, and information and communications technologies sectors.

Cities will need to understand the interplay between the different elements of the low carbon city: what platforms—technical and commercial—will enable a digital, low carbon, sustainable economy to thrive? “The challenge for cities therefore is also one of orchestration”, said Woods. In the article, he describes which basic steps can help cities be better prepared to address these issues.

Read the full article.