One of our most exciting ongoing projects is our role as a solutions provider to the +CityxChange project. This ambitious ‘Smart Cities’ project is particularly special to us as it sees our own local Limerick City leading the way in the transition to a more sustainable urban environment as part of a consortium of 32 partners all across Europe. +CityxChange is just one project in a global movement toward smarter, more efficient cities so we thought we would share an overview of what a smart city actually is and the significant impacts they’re expected to make towards our energy transition journey.
“Today 78% of European citizens live in cities, and 85% of the EU’s GDP is generated in cities.” With the majority of Europeans living and working in urban areas, It makes sense to invest in their improvement and secure a more sustainable future for cities all around the world. It’s not surprising then that in 2020, the Smart Cities movement was estimated to be worth €1.3 trillion, according to Smart Cities Marketplace.
The smart cities movement is gaining momentum fast in Europe with 12 projects currently underway that represent 27 lighthouse cities and 30 follower cities – sourced from Smarter Together EU. This is not just happening in Europe but all over the world with flagship projects also leading the way in Japan, India and Australia.
Smart City Definition
According to the European Commission:
“A smart city is a place where traditional networks and services are made more efficient with the use of digital and telecommunication technologies for the benefit of its inhabitants and business.”
Overall the goal is to make cities more efficient and help improve urban life. A key area most cities are looking at is their capacity for generating renewable energy. A variety of solutions are needed in order to help cities in their journey to becoming more carbon neutral.
Some benefits of Smart Cities for our future generations
- Improved quality of life.
- Increased community engagement.
- New economic development opportunities.
- Lower carbon emissions.
- Improved public transportation.
- Improved Infrastructure.
Looking at Ireland
In Ireland alone, there are Smart City projects in Cork, Dublin, Belfast, Galway, Derry, Dun Laoghaire and as we mentioned above, Limerick. These are all happening under the All Ireland Smart Cities Forum.
+CityxChange is a smart city project that has been funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme in the call for ‘Smart cities and communities.’ The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) leads the +CityxChange consortium made up of 32 participants that span across Europe. The project’s key goal is to demonstrate a Positive Energy Block (PEB) in 2 LightHouse cities: Trondheim and Limerick. A PEB is an area within a city that produces more energy than it consumes and so becomes energy positive. Limerick City & County Council’s senior Architect, Rosie Webb explains how Limerick is working to create PEBs in the city:
“We are installing renewables, building integrated renewables, solar panels, heat exchangers, heat pumps. Once they are producing more energy than they consume then we can start trading between other buildings and between buildings and vehicles. We’ve installed technology which allows people to monitor how they are using energy in their building and the next step is that information is fed into a digital modeling system that means the people who invest in these technologies can actually get a financial benefit, they can make a savings through that system.” Rosie Webb, Senior Architect Limerick City & County Council
GKinetic is a key participant in the project tasked with generating renewable energy from the river Shannon that runs right through the heart of Limerick City. This energy will be critical in order for the PEB to become a reality in Limerick.
“With the city and county development plan we are aligning it with the UN Sustainable development goals, really leading the way in Ireland of how these plans are written and we’ve also looked at innovative solutions for producing energy from the River Shannon.” Terry Connolly, EU Programme Manager, Limerick City & County Council
Now 2 years into the 5 year project GKinetic has led detailed feasibility studies, carried out a hydrology study, led stakeholder engagement activities informing key stakeholders on the development and proposed a specific site in Thomond Weir that is now moving ahead to planning and permitting. Thomond Weir is an existing unused bridge structure consisting of 22 concrete columns that spans the tidal estuary on the River Shannon between Thomond and Kings Island in Limerick City. We will continue to communicate and engage with key stakeholders and the community throughout the planning and permitting process.
GKinetic’s Smart City Solution
As a turnkey project developer of hydrokinetic solutions, our patented technology can support cities interested in generating clean energy from their own local resources by carrying out feasibility studies, proposing the best solution (site & technology), leading the build and installation and managing long term operation and maintenance.
There is no one solution for the energy transition, it requires a collaborative movement with everyone pulling together to create the most efficient hybrid solutions possible. With countless projects being carried out worldwide, we are excited to see the roll out of innovative solutions and the results and impacts start to feed back for the wider public to see. If you are interested in following our progress as part of +CityxChange you can find the main project website here: https://cityxchange.eu/.
Thank-you for taking the time to read our latest blog! Feel free to share this article or get in touch with information on new Smart City initiatives happening that you know of. We are always open to learning about new projects, so please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More Smart City Project Examples
Amsterdam Smart City: https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/
Smart City India: http://smartcities.gov.in/content/
Smart City Initiatives in Australia: https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/cities/smart-cities/
Siemens Smart City projects: https://new.siemens.com/global/en/company/topic-areas/smart-infrastructure/smart-cities.html