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SMART CITIES Water, energy and the smart city – a US perspective Briefly put: Intelligent management of a city and the shared resources of that city is progressively becoming a reality as increased communication and data analysis is included in a city’s infrastructure. What challenges are being overcome in the US through the integration of ‘smart’? Global trends in urbanisation are necessitating cities around the globe to become “smarter” in order to accommodate the influx of people moving into large urban areas. It is widely reported that the world’s megalopolises are expected to grow by an estimated 2.3 billion annually to see as much as 70% of the world’s population living in cities by 2050. This places considerable strain on available resources and public service infrastructure. A smart city “uses information and communication technologies (ICT) to be more intelligent and efficient in the use of resources, resulting in cost and energy savings, improved service delivery and quality of life, and reduced environmental footprint – all supporting innovation and the low-carbon economy”, says Boyd Cohen, an urban and climate strategist and inventor of the Smart Cities Wheel. A smart city is all about how the city “organism” works together as an integrated whole. It permeates all spheres of core city infrastructure, from built environments, energy, health and human services, public safety and security to transportation and water and wastewater. “Public and private electric, water, and gas utilities are of great significance as these basic services constitute the lifeblood of any well-functioning city” Power and water utilities are of particular importance in the creation of smarter cities, as energy plays a role in just about everything that happens in a city. Data thus becomes key to understanding behavioural consumption patterns enabling informative decision making in optimising energy use and addressing the supply/demand gap in dense city centres. The Smart Cities Council explains that “A smart city gathers data from smart devices and sensors embedded in its roadways, power grids, buildings and other assets. It shares that data via 56 a smart communications system that is typically a combination of wired and wireless. It then uses smart software to create valuable information and digitally enhanced services” Says Dr. Guru Banavar, Vice President and chief technology officer for the Global Public Sector, IBM: “The biggest new thing is that there’s a lot of data about everything. Lots of sensors are already deployed everywhere, in buildings, roads, and utility grids; and lots of new information-based processes are in place. Everything is more information-rich, so you have to think about information as another significant resource to manage city life. In April 2013, Cherryhill, New Jersey, partnered with Sustainability Dashboard Tools Inc. to become the nation’s first municipality to use a web-based data management tool to monitor the way electricity, water, fuel and consumables eg office supplies, are used in Town Hall and other buildings. Being interactive by nature, the dashboard gives staff the ability to determine exactly – in some cases, down to the square foot – how much it costs to heat, light and otherwise operate facilities, and how best to manage expenses. “Visually analyzing this data will provide a roadmap to help stay on track in the long term. It’s not just green, it’s also smart,” says Lori Braunstein, Sustainable Cherry Hill’s Founder and Chair. It could be argued that the most commonly considered components by which to fortify a city’s energy infrastructure is the smart grid and smart meter. Smart grids are seen as the backbone of the energy efficient city, as they bring together the flow of energy and the flow of information. In Chattanooga, Tennessee, the community– owned utility, the Electric Power Board (EPB), in 2011 installed a smart grid which passed the toughest test – cutting power outages in half – when a windstorm swept through Tennessee in July 2012. The investment into the smart grid infrastructure saved 8,000 residents from power outages and $1.4 million in restoration costs as opposed to 3,500 households that briefly went offline. The smart grid boasts high speed monitoring and control capabilities; with circuit reclosers a key component in EPB’s self-healing grid. “When an event occurs, the reclosers communicate with one another through EPB’s high-speed fibre-optic communication network to determine the location of the event, and then automatically isolate it and reroute power to restore electric service to as many people as possible,” says S&C President and CEO John Estey and suppliers of the reclosers. Smart devices installed on the grid carry and direct the flow of high-voltage electricity even under the most adverse METERING INTERNATIONAL ISSUE - 2 | 2014