Smart Energy: building a sustainable city with renewable energy

According to the UN, two out of three people will live in urban areas by 2050, that is 2.5 billion people. Cities will therefore have to respond to several challenges to meet the needs of their growing populations, whether for housing, transport, energy systems or territorial infrastructures. Faced with these development and energy efficiency challenges, the Smart Energy appears as a response to restructure the urban landscape under the prism of new technologies, renewable energies and the ecological transition.

What are the five main families of renewable energy?

Faced with the depletion of fossil fuels, i.e. the so-called “stock” energies such as oil, coal, natural gas or even lignite, it seems essential to turn to energy sources that are less polluting for the planet.

A design that is perfectly in line with the new standards put into effect through the operational actions of the Climate Plan announced by the government. This action plan aims at carbon neutrality and positive energy production.

Thus, since January 1, 2020, any new structure in the construction sector must produce more energy than it consumes. To improve the management of this consumption and therefore the energy efficiency of cities and buildings, smart energy will therefore use renewable energies as much as possible.

There are 5 main families of these energies:

  • Solar energy (photovoltaic and thermal)
  • Hydroelectricity
  • Wind power
  • Biomass
  • Geothermal energy

These energies, known as “flow” energies, are therefore opposed to fossil fuels because they are inexhaustible. The integration of renewable energies thus facilitates energy storage and optimizes energy efficiency.

Smart Energy: how to build sustainable cities with renewable energy?

Since its inception, the concept of smart city has not stopped evolving. This protean concept has evolved from a purely technophile aspect, where the optimization of services and resources through the collection and processing of data was paramount, to a more democratic approach where new technologies are placed at the service of cities and their users.

This is due in particular to the fact that the large technology groups at the origin of the concept have gradually left the reins of this project to the local authorities. These same communities have an inherent desire toimprove the quality of life of users while respecting the logic of energy transition through digital transformation.

This is where the smart energy players play a key role. Indeed, in view of the depletion of resources, particularly raw materials such as gas, smart energy appears to be a viable long-term solution for energy efficiency.

But in concrete terms, what are these solutions?

At the housing level, it acts on the control of energy equipment in buildings. A remote automation in real time that allows, among other things, to adjust the temperature of the heating, to turn off a light left on too long, or to automatically start a washing machine. But not only that.

habitat-and-building-iot

Microgrids are also a step forward proposed by smart energy, as they meet the challenges of cost optimization and social inclusion. This private smart grid is powered by local renewable energy production, such as photovoltaic panels, to supply the buildings with electricity through a centralized management system.

A process that allows tenants and owners who have decided to share the energy produced in their neighbourhood to ensure a constant balance between electricity production and demand. These microgrids will thus guarantee transparency on consumption and enable increased self-consumption while promoting the use of renewable energy.

At the city level, for example, smart energy will enable the optimization of public lighting management. By continuously varying the light intensity according to the traffic thanks to movement sensors, it allows significant energy savings. Especially when you know that 90% of the French territory is affected by light pollution.

By serving the needs of local stakeholders and reducing energy consumption by reducing the use of fossil fuels such as gas, for example, smart energy plays an active role in the energy transition and development of the city of tomorrow.

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