Smart and sustainable city solutions on show at World Future Energy Summit

The optimism from COP21 is carrying over to WFES as experts share the latest developments in future energy, energy efficiency and clean technology

ABB is joining energy experts from around the globe at the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in Abu Dhabi later this month (January 18 to 21). The gathering is timely, coming only a month after the COP21 agreement was reached in Paris where ABB’s CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer and CTO, Bazmi Husain, attended the conference, supporting action to tackle climate change and promoting renewables, microgrids and energy efficiency.

The optimism and excitement is carrying over to WFES as experts share the latest developments in future energy, energy efficiency and clean technology. I’m anticipating many discussions and exchanges about the practical actions that can help cities meet their environmental and sustainability goals.

Today’s cities occupy only three percent of the world’s landmass but consume over two-thirds of the world’s energy. They are growing fast, particularly in developing economies, where people are drawn to them in search of a better life. The United Nations anticipates that the world’s cities will attract an extra 2.9 billion people by 2050, so cities must lay the foundations today for sustainable performance in the future.

Cities have four basic building blocks: utilities, industry, transport and infrastructure. In a smart city electricity grids, water networks, transport, buildings and district heating or other energy sources will all be interconnected with city communications platforms. Together, they form the overall city infrastructure. By applying intelligent technology to these areas cities can move toward energy efficiency and less CO2 emissions, thus becoming more sustainable, pleasant and competitive for the future.

Utilities are under pressure to meet the demands of fast-growing urban populations through a reliable and efficient energy supply and an optimized water and wastewater system. To meet the challenges utilities must adopt new technologies and new approaches, such as renewable energy and greater levels of automation.

Manufacturing accounts for one third of the global energy demand today and demand is set to grow to meet the needs of a growing population and higher living standards. A recent ABB report showed that around 77 percent of manufacturers say that energy efficiency will be a critical success factor for their profitability in the next 20 years. *

The key to improving the energy efficiency of industry is to increase the efficiency of manufacturing processes. Many of the savings are to be found in electric motors and motor-driven systems, which consume 40 percent of global electricity—more than any other single end-use on the planet.

The IEA (International Energy Agency) estimates the efficiency of these motors—most of which run in industry—can be improved by some 10-15 percent – equivalent to cutting global electricity use by around 5 percent.

Transport and infrastructure
Transport can account for 20 to 40 percent of total city emissions. Cities can reduce local emissions and noise by electrifying metro trains, buses, cars and even berthed ships.

Buildings themselves consume around 40 percent of energy for heating, cooling and powering appliances. As five billion more people will migrate to cities in the coming decades, helping building owners and operators save energy is crucial.

Sustainable solar energy
Solar energy already plays an important role in meeting the world’s need for power with less impact on the environment and it is one of the foremost technologies at WFES 2015.

Smart grid technologies are the glue allowing the combination of all types of generation and demand side technologies and ensure access to reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity.

As a pioneering technology leader, ABB is prepared to support the evolution of smart and sustainable cities. Visit ABB at the World Future Energy Summit booth number 5450, hall 5 to witness some of the latest ABB technologies that can help contribute towards a smart and sustainable future.

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About the author

Jochen Kreusel

I lead the Industry Segment Initiative "Smart Grids" in ABB and I am a member of the Steering Committee of the European Technology Platform for Electricity Networks of the Future – short ETP Smart Grids. From 2008 to 2013, I was Chairman of the Power Engineering Society of VDE. Furthermore, I am an honorary professor at the RWTH Aachen and one of the four Vice presidents of T&D Europe, the European Association of the Electricity Transmission and Distribution Equipment and Services Industry, in charge of Energy Policy and chair of T&D Europe’s Energy Policy Working Group.
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