Energy transformation for cities of the future at WUF10

'Energy transformation for cities in the future: From a technology perspective' was a side event at 10th World Urban Forum, convened by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). The Forum is a high-level, open and inclusive platform for addressing the challenges of sustainable urbanisation. 

Today, cities are responsible for about 67-76% of global energy demand and 71-76% of the energy-related CO2 emissions, according to the IPCC. Cities must play a central role in addressing the current climate challenges. More importantly, cities hold great potential to mitigate emissions of all kinds by 2050, when they will need to accommodate two-thirds of the world population with an additional 2.5 billion people expected to become urban dwellers over the next three decades – 90% of these additions will take place in Asia and Africa.

To realise such potential, transformative action is needed today. This action will create new opportunities, allowing innovative technological solutions for addressing the urban energy challenges. Distributed energy generation and emerging intelligent grids in combination with smart enabling technologies for cities allow integration and management of locally-produced renewable energy sources in a networked energy infrastructure not only possible but scalable in size as well as replicable in various urban forms.

The future energy system must also be climate resilient, as the cities have felt the impact of global climate change such as heat waves, intensified storms and flooding, frequently paralysing the operation of urban infrastructures. In any city, the energy system plays a critical role in ensuring the functions of the other urban services such as water supply and treatment, waste management, transportation, medical services among others. Empower cities with greater energy independence and security can be achieved through scaling up the applications of renewable energy technologies coupled with improved energy efficiency. By doing so it would also provide an economic engine for sustainable development and social as well environmental benefits