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What Makes a City Smart?

The outlines of an autonomous car, 2017 (Photo by Automobile Italia) Creative Commons License via Flickr.

The outlines of an autonomous car, 2017 (Photo by Automobile Italia) Creative Commons License via Flickr.

By Sunny Lewis

NEW YORK, New York, October 2, 2018 (Maximpact.com News) – By 2050 cities are forecast to be inhabited by 6.5 billion people, and making cities smarter to accommodate the population boom is on the minds of transportation experts around the world.

Intelligent traffic management systems, connected and autonomous electric vehicles, ride-hailing services, parking apps and all-electric public transit and commercial fleets promise benefits such as less congestion, improved access to transit and better air quality.

Cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) will serve as the foundation for vehicles to communicate with each other and everything around them, providing 360º non-line-of-sight awareness and a higher level of predictability for enhanced road safety and autonomous driving.

Smart City creation is dependent on the same technologies underlying the Internet of Things (Iot).

The IoT is expected to transform mobility with more ride-sharing, less road congestion and greater mobility for the disabled. Commercial fleets can run at non-peak hours, and autonomous vehicles operating through the IoT will use roads more efficiently, giving commuters more free time.

“Code is the new concrete for 21st century cities and we need a digital infrastructure to share data and create safer and more sustainable streets,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, a former commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation in the Bloomberg administration, and an advisor on transportation and urban issues.

Sadik-Khan supports the SharedStreets platform first funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies and developed by the National Association of City Transportation Officials and the Open Transport Partnership.

SharedStreets is a neutral, anonymous clearinghouse for data collected by transportation providers, private companies and government agencies. It is a hub for data analysis, traffic planning, street design and development of new technologies for a smarter future.

“The SharedStreets platform offers cities and private sector players a powerful new data sharing tool to make that future possible,” says Sadik-Khan.

C40 Cities estimates that the global smart city market is expected to grow to $1.6 trillion within the next three years. But it will take citizen engagement, data sharing, and collaborations of all kinds, whether city-city, city-state, city-federal or public-private.

From Australia, Zoe Eather, host of The Smart City Podcast  and founding member of Smart Cities Council Emerging Innovators, says, “Smart will look different in different places, different projects and from different perspectives, but essentially we need to co-create a shared vision. A vision that is Smart, a vision where we focus on what the community wants/needs/desires and a vision where we utilize the most relevant and appropriate technology to enable this. We do this to make cities, spaces and places more accessible, livable and just cool places to be.”

Smart City Events This Fall Worldwide

  • Smart Cities Week is happening October 2-4 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, organized by the Smart Cities Council.

This year’s theme is Collaboration: the cornerstone of the smart city.

Tracks this year include: Re-imagining transportation, Enlightened financing, The smart workforce, Data for civic good, and Smart infrastructure. All five tracks include sessions highlighting collaborations between city and city, city and state, city and federal, and public-private.

Jesse Berst, founder and chairman, Smart Cities Council, has explained smart cities this way, “You’re not really a Smart City until you’ve made all the aspects of urban life smart and you’ve interconnected them all. We’re not there yet; in each of those individual silos there are wonderful examples, but we haven’t put it all together. It’ll be 20 or 30 years and it’ll be an ongoing journey.”

Washington is not the only Smart Cities Week the Council is hosting. Smart Cities Week Silicon Valley took place May 7-9 in Santa Clara, California, attended by mayors from across the USA. A workshop on using the science of wellbeing to guide the evolution of a smart city was one of the most popular as participants learned how cities can leverage the power of data to improve livability, workability and sustainability.

  • On October 3-4 the TU-Automotive West Coast Conference is scheduled for San Jose, California in Silicon Valley. The event is organized by KNect365, a division of Informa, a multinational events and publishing company based in London, UK.

Public-private data partnerships are on the agenda, as is a workshop titled, Edge v Cloud: Processing the Data Hoard, which focuses on the transfer of data to make real-time decisions in connected and autonomous vehicles.

There’s a lot of interest in a workshop called, Blockchain: From Hype to Application, which will explore what Blockchain is and what this technology brings when applied to connected cars and mobility solutions.

Participants will learn how Blockchain allows the creation of digital ledgers with un-tamperable data, increasing transparency, security and preventing counterfeits by techniques such as putting tags in products.

They will learn to use Blockchain’s decentralization properties, how a network of nodes opens up to third parties and new services, and the benefits of running in totally decentralized ways.

  • On October 16-17, the ADAS and Autonomous Vehicles USA Conference is taking place at the Suburban Collection Showplace, a convention and expo center in Novi, Michigan, 20 miles west-northwest of Metro Detroit.

ADAS stands for advanced driver-assistance systems, and the event will focus on “the here and now of self-driving technology,” organizers say.

  • At the end of October, for three days, October 29-31, the Smart Cities Council is hosting Smart Cities Week Australia, in Sydney. The event will be filled with boardroom discussions on the smart state, cybersecurity, digital built environment and innovation districts; masterclasses on building your IoT strategy, creating public places and spaces of the future and engaging in next generation utilities; a showcase stage for innovators; and a research forum bringing government, academia and industry together to explore the role of research in accelerating smart cities.
  •  Smart Cities Summit is planned for October 29-30 in Atlanta, Georgia. This event, too, is organized by KNect365.

For the first time, Smart Cities Summit will be co-located with Internet of Things (IoT) events – both Industrial IoT World and the IoT Blockchain Summit, to provide more opportunities for shared learning and networking.

The Summit will explore 10 steps to smart city readiness; public-private partnerships, sustainable infrastructure, 5G, and ecomobility. Speakers will share insights on new disruptive technologies, innovation procurement and bringing together small and large cities to build on collaboration.

The event will focus on what makes a city more livable, sustainable, resilient, inclusive and smarter with a focus on people. It is intended to reinforce the smart community all over the world.

Five main topics are on the agenda: Digital Transformation, Urban Environment, Mobility, Governance and Finance, and Inclusive and Sharing Cities.

The Smart Mobility Congress, the International Integrated Water Cycle Show (Iwater), the Circular Economy European Summit and the Sharing Cities Summit will be held in parallel to the SCEWC, creating synergies between the co-located events.

“It’s the place to find ways together with cities to accelerate the deployment of smart city projects,” says Ralf Nejedl, senior vice president B2B Europe, Deutsche Telekom.

Smart City Explorations

“With the emergence of shared autonomous mobility, connected infrastructure, and smart city technologies, the prospects for an urban intermodal transportation ecosystem that is faster, cheaper, cleaner, and safer appear to be just over the horizon,” writes Doug Peeples, a Portland, Oregon-based writer, on the Smart Cities Council website.

Cities throughout the world have many approaches to integrated mobility:

In September 2016, New York City advanced to phases 2 and 3 of the Connected Vehicle Pilot program managed by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office, a national effort to deploy, test, and activate mobile and roadside technologies and enable multiple connected vehicle applications.

Phase 2 was a 20-month period to design, build, and test the wireless in-vehicle, mobile device, and roadside technologies. Phase 3 is an 18-month evaluation period where the effectiveness of the deployment will be tested. Both phases are being carried out on a $18.6 million award from the U.S. DOT under the Obama Administration.

Columbus, Ohio, winner of the U.S. DOT’s Smart City Challenge, will build a Smart Columbus Operating System to provide near-real-time data on traffic conditions throughout the city. The city will later expand the system to all smart city operations and services.

Singapore’s Intelligent Transport System keeps tabs on traffic congestion charges and electronic road pricing and monitors traffic with road sensors and GPS apps in taxis, and sends the information to a control center that relays that information to travelers.

Residents of Helsinki, Finland can use Whim, a Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) app, that allows them to plan their trips and pay for their rides – be it a bike, train, taxi, bus or car share.

The city of Cascais, Portugal, a popular travel destination, offers a similar service for residents and visitors. Several cities and private sector operators are looking at ways to adopt MaaS to their unique circumstances.

The city of Olympia, Washington, in April launched new parking management software and technology to make it easier for citizens to pay for parking permits and apply for them. The city is phasing in a Pay-by-Phone system that will allow payment by smart phone at city parking meters and notify users when the meter is about to expire so they can add time remotely.

The city of Dallas, Texas, is exploring ways to integrate smart technologies into street rehabilitation projects that could include smart-powered lanes to provide in-road charging for electric vehicles. Other options are traffic controls that regulate traffic lights according to traffic flow and LED street lights equipped with multiple sensors.

Chicago and AT&T have been working together on approaches and technologies to make the city more connected, smarter, livable and manageable. Chicago was one of the first cities selected for the smart cities program the company launched last year.

AT&T and Chicago will field test smart transit shelters that include free WiFi, digital displays that track and update bus arrival times and intelligent lighting. Smart kiosks will offer USB charging ports and touch screens that provide travel, weather and public safety information. For the pilot, three bus shelters and five kiosks will be installed around the city.

RUGGEDISED is a smart city project funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. It brings together three lighthouse cities: Rotterdam, Netherlands; Glasgow, Scotland; and Umeå, Sweden and three follower cities: Brno, Czech Republic; Gdansk, Poland; and Parma, Italy to test, implement and accelerate the smart city model across Europe.

Working in partnership with businesses and research centers, these six cities will demonstrate how to combine  information and communications technology (ICT), ecomobility and energy solutions to design smart, resilient cities.

“In order for urban data platforms to progress, cities must bridge this gap and have a clear vision about how to take the platform beyond just making data sources available, by connecting data sources with app developers and enabling the creation and exchange of value on the platform,” says Dr. Haydee Sheombar, research consultant and coach at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM).

Data from 34 European cities’ urban data platforms have been gathered and analyzed on the stage of development, the vision behind these platforms, the design of business and technology, implementation barriers and accelerators, and the platforms’ use and impact.

Each urban data platform exploits modern digital technologies to integrate data flows within and across city systems. They make data resources accessible to participants in a city’s ecosystem.

“Both technical and social contracts are crucial,” says RSM MSc student Denis Ceric, who researched citizen engagement in urban platforms in Rotterdam, Munich, and Barcelona. He says that before cities can encourage citizen engagement, their urban data platforms must first define the role of citizens and their understanding of ideas such as data ownership and privacy.

Connected vehicles communicate with each other and everything around them such as traffic lights, road signs and wearables. (Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Transportation) Public domain.

Connected vehicles communicate with each other and everything around them such as traffic lights, road signs and wearables. (Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Transportation) Public domain.

Mobility Providers Share Critical Data

Ford Motor Company and the ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft have made an unprecedented commitment to SharedStreets, a new data platform that makes it easier for the private sector to work with cities and leverage data to improve urban mobility.

The data sets pledged by the companies will provide the public and private sectors with new tools to manage curb space in order to reduce congestion and emissions that cause climate change; improve the efficiency of city streets by making it easier for everyone to get around; and save lives by preventing traffic crashes.

The public-private partnership is the result of a collaboration with NACTO, the Open Transport Partnership and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the consortium behind the innovative SharedStreets data platform.

This collaborative effort to build 21st-century streets was announced by Jim Hackett, Ford CEO; Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber, and John Zimmer, Co-founder and President of Lyft, on September 26 at the second annual Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York City.

The partnership gives mayors unparalleled access to road traffic data, allowing them to make better planning and investment decisions as shared and autonomous mobility arrive in their cities.

The agreement also fills a long-missing link for mobility companies by providing a common standard for sharing data across all cities, where local requirements vary widely.

Launched earlier this year with funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, SharedStreets is a universal data language for sharing information about city streets and a launching pad for public-private collaboration to manage streets, reduce traffic deaths, and prepare cities for the unprecedented technological advancement emerging in cities.

Already operating in over 30 cities around the world, the SharedStreets platform and this new partnership will provide city leaders with far-reaching new instruments for managing transportation networks.

Under the new partnership, Uber and Lyft will release vehicle speed data from cities around the world. With this data, cities can identify exactly where people are speeding or driving dangerously, so that they can redesign streets and save lives.

Uber will include this speed data in an update of its open-source Kepler.gl tool, providing cities everywhere with innovative new tools for data visualization and information sharing.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for business and government to work together to rethink transportation,” said Hackett. “Collaborating through initiatives such as Shared Streets will enable us to use vehicles, road systems and data together to create a new roadmap for mobility. We are working toward a future where all cities are smart and curb space is actively managed, increasing efficiency and safety, while reducing driver stress and pollution.”

For the first time, the SharedStreets platform overcomes long-standing legal, regulatory and technological barriers between the public and private sectors by converting today’s ad hoc, disparate transportation data sources into a mutually readable, shared, global standard.

“The private and public sectors need to come together and collaborate on ways to create smarter, safer and more efficient transportation systems,” said Uber’s Khosrowshahi. “It’s the responsibility of companies like ours to step up and support cities in every way we can – whether that’s through data sharing, urban planning research, funding for nonprofits, or even through the introduction of new and more efficient forms of transportation like electric bicycles.”

“Lyft is in a unique position to drive positive change within our cities, and we take that responsibility seriously” said Lyft’s Zimmer. “We look forward to collaborating with regulators to expand affordable mobility options, taking cars off the road and reducing congestion, and ultimately reshaping cities around people – not cars.”

In addition to launching the new tools and partnerships, NACTO, representing 74 cities and transit agencies across North America, and global cities from Paris to Melbourne, formally endorsed the data sharing policies of SharedStreets, committing to working collaboratively with the private sector.

Michael Bloomberg said, “Ride-share and auto companies have been gathering an enormous amount of data on transportation and traffic. Now, cities will be able use it to find new ways to manage congestion, reduce carbon emissions, prevent traffic crashes, and prepare for the arrival of autonomous vehicles.”

5G, the Key to Smart Cities

Fast download speeds are the start; the fifth-generation wireless network can put smart city transformation into overdrive.

The next big leap in telecommunications, 5G performance targets include high data rate, reduced latency, energy saving, cost reduction, higher system capacity and massive device connectivity.

T-Mobile US has plans to build 5G networks in 30 cities this year and launch those commercially in 2019.

In Sweden, the RUGGEDISED Lighthouse city of Umeå has been chosen as the country’s first 5G city. Erasmus University will be the first 5G university in Europe.

5G technology can manage large amounts of data in new and more advanced ways. It gives extremely fast connections with very low delay and improved security compared to what current networks can offer, at a lower cost with reduced energy consumption.

“5G is a big leap in wireless communications that will open up a world in which everything can communicate with each other,” says Channa Seneviratne, executive director of network infrastructure engineering at Telstra, Australia’s largest telecommunications company.

Seneviratne says 5G is fundamental to autonomous vehicles because, “AVs will be able to connect with everything around them such as traffic lights, road signs and wearables, and make better safety decisions as a result.”

Seneviratne says 5G networks will “bring the smart city to life.”


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Climate-Neutral COP23 Aims for Sustainability

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Bonn’s electric buses will transport conference attendees around the city free of greenhouse gas emissions. (Photo courtesy UNFCCC) Creative Commons license via Flickr

By Sunny Lewis

BONN, Germany, November 7, 2017 (Maximpact.com  News) – This year’s UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, which opened Monday and continues through November 17 under the presidency of Fiji, gives nations an opportunity to showcase their own climate actions at this “climate-neutral” event.

Up to 25,000 people are expected to participate in the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC, known as COP23, including government delegates, representatives of observer organizations, businesses and journalists.

One year has passed since the entry into force of the Paris Agreement on climate change, adopted by the 196 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2015. The agreement allows countries to make individual pledges of action to reverse climate change, called Nationally Determined Contributions.

The Paris Agreement aims to limit the rise of the global temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius and, if possible, below 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels.

These goals appear increasingly difficult to achieve. Last week, the World Meteorological Organization announced that atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, CO2, had surged at “record-breaking speed” to new highs in 2016.

A new report from the UN Environment agency finds that even full implementation of current unconditional and conditional Nationally Determined Contributions makes a temperature increase of at least 3 degrees C by 2100 very likely.

The 8th edition of UN Environment’s Emissions Gap report, released ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, finds that national pledges only bring a third of the reduction in emissions required by 2030 to meet climate targets, with private sector and sub-national action not increasing at a rate that would help close this worrying gap.

This means that governments must deliver much stronger pledges when they are revised in 2020.

The organizers of COP23 have made sustainability the watchword of this year’s annual conference. In this context, unless stated differently, organizers say, the term sustainability refers to the environmental dimension of sustainable development as defined in 1987 by “Our Common Future,” the Brundtland Report, from the UN World Commission on Environment and Development.

The Brundtland Commission defined sustainable development as “development which meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

To that end, COP23 organizers are managing transport, waste management, catering, energy and offsetting, providing clean transportation and clean electricity to the greatest extent possible.

The COP23 Sustainability Taskforce estimates that most emissions caused by COP 23 are the result of transport, with delegates’ international travel responsible for the largest share.

Emissions from local travel will be reduced by renewable energy-powered electric vehicle shuttles that will transfer delegates between the two conference zones, Bula and Bonn.

The conference venue itself will be managed sustainably, including its use of resources such as energy, waste and water.

“The most important aspect is that local public transportation is free of charge for all registered participants from Parties, observer organizations and media,” says Dennis Winkler, who heads the COP 23 Sustainability Taskforce and is responsible for the sustainability of UN climate change conferences.

“Also, 600 bikes will be provided free of charge for participants to get from one conference zone to another, or even to the city,” Winkler said.

The city of Bonn has several electric and hybrid buses in service and special electric COP 23 shuttles, running on 100 percent renewable energy, will connect a brand-new UN Campus train stop with the nearby metro stop and the two conference zones.

“We think it is important for there to be electric transport at the Bonn Climate Change Conference, as it absolutely meets the key goals of COP23,” says Anja Wenmakers of Bonn’s public transport provider, Stadtwerke-Bonn. “We are committed to supporting climate action goals and believe that public transport in general can make an important contribution to quickly achieving these goals.”

In addition, a shuttle service with smaller electric vehicles through the Rheinaue Park will be organized by the German Environment Ministry. Electric buses will be clearly identified with a special label.

In an effort to use energy efficiently, COP23 organizers are seeking to keep all indoor areas at an average temperature of 21 degrees Celsius, and not warmer. Participants are requested to turn off room lights and ventilation as well as ICT equipment when not in use.

In addition to maximizing energy efficiency, the organizers are making sure that the energy that is used in buildings is from renewable sources when possible.

“We have a target of 80 percent renewable energy all over the conference,” said Winkler. He and his team will have to make an assessment of whether this target has been reached at the end of the conference.

The UNFCCC Secretariat runs on 100 percent renewable energy, some of it sourced from solar panels on the roof of its headquarters building.

In a another effort to contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport, the UNFCCC has announced a partnership with Ethanol Europe Renewables Ltd, which aims to promote the use of biofuels as lower-carbon alternatives to fossil fuels.

When COP23 is over on November 17, the UNFCCC Sustainability Taskforce will calculate the overall greenhouse gas footprint of all aspects of the conference, including travel, food, local transport and accommodation.

Their calculations will be verified under the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme. All unavoidable emissions resulting from COP23 will be offset.

The Government of Germany has committed to the purchase of certified emission credits, preferably from Clean Development Mechanism projects registered in small island developing States, in recognition of the Fijian Presidency of COP 23.

“The human suffering caused by intensifying hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, floods and threats to food security caused by climate change means there is no time to waste,” said Frank Bainimarama, the Prime Minister of Fiji, who took over as president of the COP23 conference from Morocco during the opening.

“We must preserve the global consensus for decisive action enshrined in the Paris Agreement and aim for the most ambitious part of that target – to limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above that of the pre-industrial age,” he said. “Wherever we live, we are all vulnerable and need to act.”

COP23 is structured according to the principle of one conference, two zones. The UN intergovernmental negotiations take place in Zone Bula, a Fijian word expressing warm welcome.

Negotiating countries plan to design and launch the Talanoa dialogue, named after the spirit of open exchange and constructive debate of Pacific island nations, to run during 2018.

The dialogue will conclude at COP24 in Poland next year with the aim of setting the stage for a more ambitious response that better reflects the scientific state of climate change during 2019-2020.

Governments will work on the Paris Agreement’s operating system – the detailed ways and means to assist all governments to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement now and in the future.

“Fiji is helping build a Grand Coalition for decisive, coordinated action by governments at every level, by civil society, the private sector and all citizens on Earth,” said Bainimarama. “That’s why we installed an ocean-going Fijian ‘drua’ canoe in the entrance here to remind everyone of the need to fill its sail with collective determination to make COP23 a success and confront the biggest challenge humanity has faced.”

Featured Image: COP23 dignitaries ride bicycles through the streets of Bonn, Germany ahead of the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). From right: Frank Bainimarama, the Prime Minister of Fiji and COP23 president; Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UNFCCC. Nov. 5, 2017 (Photo courtesy UNFCCC) Creative Commons license via Flickr


China Leads the New Clean Energy Reality

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Jim Carr, Minister of Energy, Canada; Wan Gang, Minister of Science and Technology, China; Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director, International Energy Agency; Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy, USA; Terje Søviknes, Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Norway (Photo courtesy IEA) Posted for media use.

By Sunny Lewis

BEIJING, China, June 8, 2017 (Maximpact.com) – Now that President Donald Trump has announced that he will exit the Paris Agreement on climate, the world’s major emerging economies, including China and India, are replacing the United States at the center stage of the clean energy transition.

By betting on energy efficiency, wind, solar and other renewables, these countries are increasingly leading the way, while the United States falls behind as Trump moves the country towards greater reliance on coal and oil.

The International Energy Agency projects that all of the growth in energy demand in the next 25 years will take place in emerging and developing countries.

“There is a new reality in clean energy,” says Christian Zinglersen of the International Energy Agency (IEA), who heads the new Clean Energy Ministerial Secretariat. Based at the IEA headquarters in Paris, the Clean Energy Ministerial is a global forum that promotes clean energy policies.

This is the importance of the top-level meeting of energy ministers from the world’s biggest economies taking plan in Beijing this week, said Zinglersen, formerly deputy permanent secretary at the Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate.

“The fact that representatives from fossil-fuel producers like Mexico and Saudi Arabia will join renewable-energy pioneers like Denmark and Germany for a top-level meeting in China is not a coincidence,” he said. “We are witnessing a global consensus that the key to the energy transition will reside with decisions made in emerging economies.”

China, the world’s biggest emitter of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, is changing its coal-burning ways. “China is now the undisputable global leader of renewable energy expansion worldwide, and the IEA forecasts that by 2021, more than one-third of global cumulative solar PV and onshore wind capacity will be located in China,” said Zinglersen.

India was the first country to set comprehensive quality and performance standards for light emitting diodes (LEDs), and it expects to save as much as 277 terawatt-hours of electricity between 2015 and 2030, avoiding 254 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions – the equivalent of 90 coal-fired power plants.

On June 6, during a side event on efficient lighting at the Clean Energy Ministerial, 13 companies announced new commitments to the Global Lighting Challenge totaling nearly six billion LED lighting products.

The Global Lighting Challenge has now reached 14 billion high-efficiency, high-quality lighting products committed, surpassing its 10 billion light goal set at the sixth Clean Energy Ministerial two years ago.

Twelve Chinese solid-state lighting companies committed to deploy 3.29 billion LED Lamps and 5.77 million LED streetlights by the end of 2018.

Based on these commitments, the total cumulative energy savings from 2017–2018 is estimated at more than 45 billion kWh, which is roughly half of the Three Gorges Hydropower Station’s annual power generation (93.5 billion kWh in 2016).

These energy savings lead to CO2 a emissions reduction estimated at more than 40.5 million tons.

LEDVANCE, an international company for lighting products and networked light applications based in Germany, announced its commitment to sell 2.5 billion LED lamps by 2023.

LEDVANCE’s goal will save the equivalent amount of energy produced by 75 medium-sized coal-fired power plants, the company estimates.

“We made a very conscious choice in pledging this commitment and are very proud in taking part in the Global Lighting Challenge,” said Thomas Dreier, global head of research and development at LEDVANCE.

“LED lamps are not only ecologically sensible but also economically. In combination with smart lighting solutions, LED lamps in the current generation have a potential of reducing energy consumption and costs by 90 percent,” Dreier said.

“At LEDVANCE, we have been investing a lot in researching the potential of tomorrow’s LED lamps, which will continue to increase the scope of what is possible in energy efficiency.”

The number of electric cars on the roads around the world rose to two million in 2016, following a year of strong growth in 2015, according to the latest edition of the International Energy Agency’s Global EV Outlook.

China remained the largest market in 2016, accounting for more than 40 percent of the electric cars sold in the world.

With more than 200 million electric two-wheelers and more than 300,000 electric buses, China is by far the global leader in the electrification of transport. China, the United States and Europe made up the three main markets, totaling over 90 percent of all electric vehicles sold around the world.

Four large U.S. cities: Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco and Portland, are leading a partnership of over 30 cities to mass-purchase EVs for their public fleets including police cruisers, street sweepers and trash haulers. The group of cities is currently seeking to purchase over 110,000 EVs, a significant number when compared to the 160,000 total EVs sold in the entire United States in 2016.

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry told his counterparts in Beijing, “I don’t believe you can have a real conversation about clean energy without including carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS). The United States understands the importance of this clean technology and its vital role in the future of energy production.”

Perry made these comments at a meeting of the energy ministers of Canada, China, Norway, and the United States, as well as heads of delegation from Australia and the European Commission, business leaders and civil society organizations held ahead of the Clean Energy Ministerial in Beijing.

Carbon capture, utilization and storage is a process that captures CO2 emissions from sources like coal-fired power plants and either reuses it or stores it so it will not enter the atmosphere.

The ministers were invited by the International Energy Agency and China to review how to increase collaboration to drive further deployment of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS).

The meeting was held ahead of the 8th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM8), in Beijing.

“We have already seen the success of projects like Petra Nova in Texas, which is the world’s largest post-combustion carbon-capture system,” Perry said. “Our experience with CCUS proves that you can do the right thing for the environment and the economy too.”

The system at Petra Nova can capture 1.6 million tons of CO2 each year from an existing coal-fired power plant unit, a capture rate of up to 90 percent from a supplied slipstream of flue gas. By using CO2 captured from the plant, oil production at West Ranch oilfield is expected to increase from around 500 barrels per day to up to 15,000 barrels per day.

Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources said, “Carbon capture, use and storage holds enormous potential to enable economic growth and create jobs, while ensuring the environment is protected.”

“Canada hopes to continue working with domestic and international partners, including through the Clean Energy Ministerial and Mission Innovation, to help us all address the technical and policy challenges around wide scale implementation of this important technology,” Carr said.

“There are many reasons to stand for clean energy today,” said Zinglersen. “These can range from reducing greenhouse gas emissions but also battling the scourge of air pollution, improving energy security by reducing the dependency of fossil fuels, diversifying supply, creating high-tech jobs or fostering innovation. As such, approaches to clean energy will vary from country to country.”

By committing to these new clean technologies, he said, countries like China are helping drive down costs for the benefit of the world.


Featured Image: Dabancheng is said to be China’s the wind power capital. The Dabancheng Wind Farm is situated on the road from Urumqi to Turpan in northwestern China. (Photo courtesy Asian Development Bank) Creative commons license via Flickr

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Demand for Electric Cars Hits New Highs

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Charging a Nissan LEAF in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (Photo courtesy Heijmans)

By Sunny Lewis

PALO ALTO, California, April 14, 2016 (Maximpact.com News) – Luxury electric automaker Tesla unveiled its latest model at a March 31 event, and demand was so strong for the $35,000 Tesla Model 3 that within the week 325,000 would-be customers purchased preorders at US$1,000 each.

The preorder offering raised US$14 billion, tweeted Tesla founder, chairman, CEO and product architect Elon Musk. He will use funds to finish building an enormous lithium-ion battery factory near Reno, Nevada and begin Model 3 production at the Tesla assembly plant in Fremont, California.

Everyone will have to be patient though – production of the Model 3 is not scheduled to begin until the second half of 2017.

The sheer number of Model 3 orders amazed many people including “EV World” publisher Bill Moore, who wrote to his newsletter subscribers, “The market’s not only ‘spoken,’ it bloody ROARED.”

“Fifteen years ago, some three years after I launched EV World,” wrote Moore, “there were maybe 5,000 OEM-built electric cars on the road in the United States; and roughly a comparable number in Europe, mainly in France.”

Now, he compared, “In just seven days time, Tesla now has pre-orders and $1000 deposits for more than 30 times the number of all the electric cars in the world back just over a decade and a half ago.”

Tesla Model 3s are revealed to an admiring crowd, March 31, 2016 (video courtesy Tesla Motors)

As of March 31, Tesla Motors had sold nearly 125,000 electric cars worldwide since delivery of its first Tesla Roadster in 2008.

The current world leader in zero-emission mobility, the Renault-Nissan Alliance, sold its 250,000th electric vehicle – a white Renault ZOE – in June 2015.

The 250,000th owner is Yves Nivelle, a computer engineer from Bordeaux, who traded in his 21-year-old diesel car for the subcompact Renault ZOE.

Nivelle bought his EV after the French government introduced an environmental bonus in April 2015 to allow owners of older, polluting diesel cars to trade them in and get a rebate of €10,000 on a new electric vehicle.

“The government’s environmental bonus was a big factor in my decision to get an EV,” Nivelle said. “But I have to say, I was convinced the first time I drove the car. It’s a real pleasure to drive and it feels good to do my part for the environment.”

Watch a video  of Nivelle getting into his historic Renault ZOE at the dealership. Renault Nissan Bordeaux

In addition to the LEAF, Nissan also makes the e-NV200 van, which has been on sale in Europe and Japan since 2014. In addition to the ZOE, Renault also sells the Renault Kangoo Z.E van, the SM3 Z.E. sedan and the Twizy, a two-seater urban commuter vehicle.

“Demand for our electric vehicles continues to grow thanks to government incentives and the expanding charging infrastructure,” said Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, formed in 1999.

“The positive response of our customers is also driving demand. These vehicles enjoy some of the highest levels of satisfaction rates from our customers around the world,” Ghosn said.

As public fast-charging infrastructure proliferates so that a nearly full charge is possible in less than half an hour at many locations, and electric vehicle batteries offer ranges up to 250 miles on a single charge, public acceptance of EVs grows stronger.

An all-electric vehicle offering more than 200 miles of range per charge for an affordable price in the neighborhood of US$30,000 – that’s what a growing segment of the driving public wants and an increasing number of automakers are answering that demand.

There are more than 20 models of electric vehicles on the market today, including, among others, the Chinese BYD e6, the Chevrolet Spark EV, Fiat 500e, Kia Soul EV, India’s Mahindra Reva e2o, all Mercedes B-class cars, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the Smart EV, Volvo’s XC90 T8 and the VW e-Golf.

Across the industry, at least 24 newly announced electric vehicle models are expected to be on the market before 2019.

General Motors will have the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV for sale late this year; it offers 200 miles of range for about $30,000 after the federal government rebate.

GM head Mary Barra believes a real “revolution” is underway. She told the World Economic Forum annual meeting in January that soon petrol-fueled cars will be “a thing of the past.”

“In the auto industry, the revolution is being driven by the convergence of connectivity, electrification and changing customer needs,” Barra said. “It is allowing automakers like GM to develop dramatically cleaner, safer, smarter and more energy-efficient vehicles for customers in every market around the world.”

Ford delivered its first Focus E in 2011, but now has fallen behind. The 2017 Ford Focus Electric will have just 100 miles of range, according a Ford media presentation in Dearborn, Michigan last December.

But Ford will add DC fast charging to the car, so it can recharge to 80 percent of battery capacity in 30 minutes at a growing network of Combined Charging System sites in the USA and Europe.

Many other companies are jumping into the strengthening EV market.

At the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show, Hyundai Motor introduced the IONIQ – the world’s first model with three distinct electrified powertrains: the IONIQ Hybrid, the IONIQ Plug-in and the IONIQ Electric.

German automaker Audi is preparing its international production network to make autonomous cars, electric cars and hydrogen fuel cell cars.

Production of the first all-electric SUV from Audi will begin in Brussels in 2018, the company says. It will offer a range of more than 250 miles on a single charge. In a decade, the company projects, 25 percent of Audi’s sales will be electric vehicles.

As production increases, the market grows, especially in India and China.

India’s Minister of State for Power, Coal, and New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal wants to make every car on India’s roads an electric vehicle by 2030.

“We have created a working group under the leadership of Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, who is good at coming up with large scale programs. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, and I are members of this group,” Goyal told a conference of Indian youth in late March.

Goyal suggested that drivers could buy bare bones electric cars with no money down. The buyers could pay for their EVs over time from the savings realized by not having to purchase fuel.

In China, electric car sales surged to 220,000 in 2015, surpassing the United States to rank first worldwide, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

BYD, which stands for Build Your Dream, sold more EVs than any other Chinese company in 2015. CAAM projects sales of 300,000 EVs in China this year.

Unveiling the Tesla Model 3, Musk addressed the underlying reason behind the rapidly electrifying auto industry.

“Why are we doing this? Why are we making electric cars? Why does it matter?” he asked.

“It’s very important to accelerate the transition to sustainable transport. It’s really important for the future of the world,” he answered his own question.

Musk is concerned about climate change. He pointed to the record high CO2 concentration in the atmosphere: as of March 2016 – 403.5 parts per million – and climbing.

“The last time there was this concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was 11 million years ago, when primates first started walking upright,” he told the crowd at the unveiling event, many of them owners of earlier and much more costly Teslas.

Tesla founder, chairman and CEO at the unveiling of the Tesla Model 3. (From video courtesy Tesla Motors)

Musk pointed to the Earth’s steadily rising temperature. He pointed to the fact that 53,000 people a year die in the United States alone from exposure to automobile emissions.

Musk is not alone in his concerns. And research shows that the growing popularity of electric vehicles can indeed help avert climate change.

In September 2015 the California-based Electric Power Research Institute and the U.S. nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) jointly released a study finding that widespread adoption of electric transportation, including the off-road sector, could lead to substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.

The report, “Environmental Assessment of a Full Electric Transportation Portfolio,” projects emissions through 2050 and air quality impacts in 2030.

It finds that greenhouse gas emissions from light-duty vehicles could drop as much as 64 percent below today’s levels as drivers abandon internal combustion engines in favor of electrics.

“This research points to the importance of two fundamental and parallel trends in energy and the environment,” said EPRI President and CEO Mike Howard. “First is the continuing decarbonization of the electricity sector and second is the electrification of energy use in transportation and industry.”