What does an “environmentally-friendly” city look like? If you envisage electric charging stations in place of pumps and wind turbines in abundance, you are in good company. In fact, many cities across the globe plan to build a future which looks just like this – some as soon as the year 2020. But how realistic are these targets?
The Siemens City Performance Tool (CyPT) measures how “green” a city is in real-world terms. This simulation tool tackles different decision-making scenarios, and, in turn, evaluates how realistic a city’s future environmental targets really are.
For instance, can a city which heavily relies on nuclear power realistically make the shift to renewable sources? Will an overpopulated city achieve its air quality targets? The CyPT uses questions like these to determine whether a city’s short and long-term targets are achievable. In situations where there are no targets, the CyPT determines how infrastructure investment could impact on carbon emissions and air quality.
“As a global technology powerhouse with wide-ranging green portfolio, Siemens is committed to answer different challenges faced by cities in urbanization,” said Klaus Heidinger, Head of City IT Solutions in Siemens Global Center of Competence Cities.
Scroll down to read about the green targets set by major cities, or head to the Crystal’s Future of Cities Exhibition to find out more.
Like many other world cities, much of Copenhagen’s carbon emissions arise from the production of electricity and heat. Indeed, the city currently emits approximately 2 million tons of carbon dioxide a year doing so. But this looks set to change.
The Danish city plans to be the world’s first carbon-neutral capital by 2025. They hope to do this by using state-of-that-art wind technology and cutting carbon emissions to 1.15 million tons. And, while this might sound like a mammoth task, they are on track to achieving their target. For instance, last year Denmark obtained 43.4 per cent of its electricity from wind power alone.
100 new wind turbines
To further enhance its sustainable infrastructure, the city plans to add 100 new wind turbines across Copenhagen. CyPT analysis predicts that these new wind farms could generate net gains of 1.5GW before the end of the decade (enough energy to power around 150 million LED light bulbs), and could produce an 18 per cent year-on-year growth in wind electricity.
What’s more, these wind turbines could generate 55 per cent of the nation’s electricity by 2025. If the city is to meet these targets and continue to invest in environmentally-friendly technology, it is plausible that Copenhagen could, one day, run entirely on wind energy.
The Electric Vehicle Champion: Adelaide
Adelaide’s extensive investment into wind and solar power has made Australia’s coastal capital a champion of renewable energy. Between 2007 and 2013, for example, the city reduced carbon emissions by 20 per cent. Today, 41 per cent of its electric power is generated from renewable sources.
With such a strong baseline, the city’s target of generating 50 per cent of electricity from renewable sources could come several years before its 2025 target.
Carbon neutral by 2050
One way Adelaide aims to reach its carbon-neutral target is by using more electric vehicles. By 2025, Adelaide plans to cut local emissions of PM10 (particulate matter) and NOx (nitrogen oxides) by electrifying cars, taxis, buses, trains and trams in the city. Their aim to make 60 per cent of cars on the road electric could see citywide emissions slashed by as much as 31 per cent. In fact, the transport sector as a whole could see reductions of 47 per cent, as more electric vehicles come onto Adelaide’s highways.
In an effort to further expand electric vehicle usage, and to reduce the number of cars entering the city, e-car sharing platforms are also due to be introduced. By 2050, the city aims to have 1,000 inhabitants renting electric cars on a short-term self-service basis; this should see more people using cycle paths, walking or using more of the emission-free transport options in the city.
In recent years, there has been much investment in finding alternatives to fossil fuels, which has resulted in the proposed production of the world’s largest solar and wind hydrogen plant. This facility could have the capacity to produce up to 400 megawatts of sustainable power each day, which, in turn, would power the site’s hydrogen ‘electrolyser.’ It is estimated the plant will produce around 20,000 kilograms of hydrogen each day.
Nuclear power currently provides a third of the energy in South Korea, but it seems the tide is turning in the capital.
The 2011 tsunami in Japan prompted much of the debate around nuclear energy in South Korea. This was an earthquake-triggered tsunami that produced devasting 133ft waves, killed nearly 16,000 people and caused three nuclear reactors to explode at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Not only did this natural disaster cause far-reaching environmental damage, it also rendered a large portion of north-east Japan uninhabitable.
While these cataclysmic waves didn’t quite hit Seoul’s shores, the mayor, Park Won-Soon, saw how a similar natural disaster might one day cause irrevocable damage to his city. Knowing how vulnerable Seoul was to violent earthquakes, the eco-minded mayor of Seoul spearheaded South Korea’s ‘One Less Nuclear Power’ initiative. This initiative aims to cut energy consumption by 2 million TOE (the equivalent of one nuclear power plant). Seoul plans to do this by engaging citizens in energy-saving techniques and offering renewable energy sources.
“We hope the application of CyPT can support cities in implementing the national clean air strategy, moving forward to clean air and long-term sustainable development while maintaining its quality of economic growth,” said Klaus Heidinger, Head of City IT Solutions in Siemens Global Center of Competence Cities.
The initiative has already achieved great success; its initial target to reduce energy consumption by 2 million tons exceeded expectations, with 2.04 million tons of carbon cut between 2012-14. What’s more, the Siemens CyPT Seoul 2020 report identified possible greenhouse gas emission reductions of more than 23 per cent from the 2014 baseline by the year 2020.
Smart City Vienna
Vienna’s ambition to increase sustainable resources and reduce carbon emissions is already underway. While the Austrian capital has taken great strides to encourage the use of eco-friendly transport, such as cycling and car sharing, the ‘Smart City Vienna initiative’ looks to take this one step further. By implementing new energy-saving trams and electric-powered vehicles, the city hopes to drastically reduce air pollution.
CyPT modelled the impact of Vienna’s potential €8 bn investment, over the next decade, to implement a set of technologies in the energy, building and transport sectors. By implementing these technologies, the city could meet its 2030 targets as soon as 2025. This would mean reducing C02 eq. emissions in Vienna by 9 Mt and adding 85,000 full-time equivalent jobs to the local economy.
Want to learn more about sustainability in our future cities? Visit the Crystal’s Future of Cities exhibition.