Smart cities: Living in the new energy world

From smartphones to smart homes to the smart grid, digitalization and the internet are changing the way we live. Building services technologies, household appliances and even entire power grids can communicate and form networks. Modern information technology does more than just improve comfort and security. It also helps ensure the efficient use of energy generated on site, such as the electricity produced by a photovoltaic system. What works in buildings can be scaled up for use in whole neighborhoods. Urban planners are increasingly working on creating smart cities – low-emission, energy-efficient, resource-conserving cities that combine work, leisure and home life with energy and traffic concepts for a greater quality of life.

Electric vehicles will be part of the smart world of tomorrow, both as electricity consumers and as storage devices. The bidirectional flow of energy to and from car batteries transforms them into mobile energy storage systems, so that solar energy can be used as a source of carbon-neutral driving power. Renewable energies are more than just a cornerstone of sustainable mobility. They also make it possible to set up microgrids and virtual power plants for an affordable power supply. Thousands of decentralized renewable energy plants, heat/power-generation units, storage systems and industrial electrical devices are already networked in Europe. To reconcile sustainability, supply security and economic viability, these decentralized systems need to be intelligently controlled. Energy management systems help to enhance efficiency and save energy, to raise the self-consumption of self-generated energy, and to ease the burden on the power grids.

Smart cities