Smart City.Za Bulletin - Issue 5
The energy theme is central to the fifth edition of the SmartCity.za bulletin, effectively capturing the spirit of the current global and local context we are experiencing. Globally - climate change remains one of the most pressing issues of our times, with countries pledging to reduce CO2 emissions under the Paris Agreement. The C40 network of world megacities is focused on fighting the climate crisis and driving urban action in line with the 1.5°C climate mitigation target but also champions energy equity and a just energy transition - so seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks while increasing the health, wellbeing and economic opportunities of urban residents.
Locally - a collapse in South Africa’s generating capacity has resulted in widespread national blackouts of electricity supply. Inadequately developed alternative energy and energy management systems nationwide means that imaginative responses have been urgent but also challenging. In this issue, we explore the role and approaches to energy in smart cities. The eThekwini case demonstrates the progress that the city is making with its “4Ds” (deregulation, decentralisation, decarbonisation and digitalisation), but also the challenges they are facing such as an inadequate finance mechanism, rapidly changing business models, limited technical skills, and a highly regulated sector. There is also a reflection on innovative energy projects identified in the pilot cities. The projects reflect some common city needs - to improve energy efficiency and reliability, and to increase energy independence.
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