Smart is the buzzword any time someone mentions the fight against carbon footprint. Humans have been spewing toxic gases into the air and contaminated waste in the water and ground, which is irresponsible if not stupid, considering the damage to our seas and skies, evidence of which is displayed on the news with more regularity, as fires, hurricanes, floods and droughts ravage global economies.
Half of humanity lives in cities where 70 per cent of carbon emissions are generated, according to UN reports.
But don’t worry, there’s a solution to that. The World Green Economy Summit (WGES) 2017, held on 24-25 October 2017 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, will shed light on how smart cities have become key to green economies.
What does that mean?
Smart cities are an urban endeavour to optimise economic activity and energy consumption and minimize environmental impact on city dwellers. Like any city, infrastructure spending is what determines the fate of people, flora and fauna living there.
WGES 2017 will discuss the commitment of governments towards smarter, more efficient cities that lead the way in innovation, creating interconnected urban areas and eco-friendly infrastructure.
“The current speed of global GDP growth will need an estimate of $57 trillion in infrastructure investment between now and 2030 and a total of $1trn in global annual savings could be attained by only optimising smart public infrastructure development,” said a statement by WGES.
“Smart cities around the world are now pioneering all sorts of cutting-edge technologies to reduce pollution and boost energy efficiency and the eco-friendly push not only helps to protect the planet, but also stimulates growth, unleashing a new generation of eco-friendly infrastructure and jobs.”
Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy in Dubai, Managing Director and CEO of DEWA, and Chairman of WGES said:“Smart cities can contribute to green growth and significantly reduce energy consumption.”
“While the undertaking from a regular city to a smart city is a slow process, it is moving at a steady pace in the UAE. The country already boasts of several communities that have been developed with the use of innovative technologies to accelerate and boost the development of the country,” added Al Tayer.
Salik is one of the UAE smart traffic systems that will see flow of traffic without human interaction. The mobility of all vehicles will have a central command to be monitored by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in 2018.
Dubai aims to have in place 100 smart initiatives and 1,000 smart services by end 2017.
DEWA announced that it would have a smart network established with a total investment of Dh7 billion ($1.9bn) and covering demand management, asset management, automation at switching stations, distribution network automation, information and communication technology infrastructure, big data analysis, smart grid security, system integration and smart metering.
The state energy regulator also launched the Shams Dubai initiative, aimed at having the private sector self-produce electricity using solar photovoltaic panels, which would then link to DEWA’s network.
With new technological and cost-competitive solar PV solutions readily available, the future of energy will present a challenge to conventional companies.
“The potential to increase access to fresh water in arid regions is one of the exciting opportunities offered by solar PV,” commented Romain Debarre, Managing Director of the A.T. Kearney Energy Transition Institute, in an email to AMEinfo. “Solar PV-driven desalination integrated with water storage instead of electricity storage presents promising potential at a cost-competitive price point.”
According to Al Tayer, DEWA has also established the infrastructure for electric vehicle charging stations, even though the electric car market is still in its infancy in the Emirate.