The decision to host the world’s largest technology conference in Barcelona appears to have been an extremely prescient decision following a survey that revealed it to be the world’s leader in smart city technology.
The Spanish city came out on top in a study by analyst firm Juniper Research to discover which places were embracing initiatives such as smart grids, smart traffic management and smart street lighting.
New York placed second, ahead of London, with Nice and Singapore rounding out the top five.
Barcelona won particular plaudits for performed consistently well across all metrics and serves as an exciting model of success from which others can learn, bolstered by strong environmentally sustainable initiatives.
Other leading cities, such as New York and London, still require greater emphasis on implementing environmentally positive projects, despite excelling in areas such as technological capability and a willingness to engage with citizens through open data.
Juniper’s Smart Cities: Strategies, Energy, Emissions & Cost Savings 2014-2019 found that smart grid initiatives will achieve $10.7 billion savings annually by 2019 through a combination of reduced energy consumption and emissions reductions in smart cities. The reduced emissions are equivalent to those produced by the annual consumption of 130 million barrels of oil.
The report found that, despite substantial differences in energy market regulation and policy, there is a strong desire on a global scale to implement a ‘smarter grid’. National energy concerns, caused by emissions reduction policies, transmission line loss and grid reliability are among the numerous drivers behind the need to transition to a ‘2-way’ grid.
However, “issues such as grid cybersecurity and winning over the consumer where smart metering is concerned still need to be addressed”, added report author Steffen Sorrell. “Education is key – certainly in terms of stakeholder information sharing as well as promoting the full benefits of a smart grid beyond a vague notion of a reduction in energy bills.”
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