Learn about ENGIE better cities today, or how ENGIE is building the cities of the future, through a series of articles and interviews in our special report on Cities. Below we have an opinion piece from Michael Schack, Director, Networks and Cogeneration, B2T at ENGIE
75% of global energy use and 80% of greenhouse gas emissions come from cities. I’m still struck by the enormity of these figures, all the more so when you think that 50% of the global population also live in cities, a percentage that is set to rise to 70% by 2050. Given the air and water pollution in some cities, and the urban heat islands found in all city centers... does an increased urban population have to mean that, by our very lifestyles, we are condemning almost half of the global population to live in dirty, polluted regions that put their health, and that of their children, in danger?
I firmly believe that isn’t the case. It is for cities, in cities, and with cities that we will be able to, and indeed must, create a harmonious path to a more sustainable kind of progress that takes better care of the limited resources available to each of us. It isn’t a matter of building utopias, but of generating structural improvements in the quality of urban life by offering local authorities tangible proposals which, when incorporated as part of a whole, will deliver solutions worthy of the challenge. By drawing on our proven expertise in infrastructure and services, and expanding our digital capacity, ENGIE is working with major industry and start-up partners to deliver this global and sustainable approach to cities.
ENGIE is, for example, one of the world leaders in renewable urban heating networks, and a world leader in high environmental impact cooling networks. These networks are efficient in and of themselves, enabling the incorporation of renewable and unavoidable energy, and thereby helping to deliver carbon-free heating and air conditioning. ENGIE is working to further improve their effectiveness, notably through the development of digital operational platforms that manage and run energy use in real time. Urban networks 4.0 that combine smart electricity and heating grids are the most effective and cost-effective solution to decarbonizing densely populated areas, and will form the backbone of sustainable cities.
Energy efficiency services are also undergoing radical changes with the advent of smart buildings, enabling a building’s energy use to be automated, managed, and optimized for the duration of its lifetime. Indeed, ENGIE has developed a series of solutions that it has implemented in Parisian schools, while in Singapore, ENGIE has even designed PowerZee, a digital app developed in partnership with the University of Singapore that aims to change people’s behaviors to make them more environmentally responsible.
Through this positioning, ENGIE is embodying its desire to help make the world a better place by respecting the specific needs of every single stakeholder.
ENGIE has proven its ability to build all of its solutions into one global solution. For example, Ohio State University chose ENGIE to manage the energy efficiency of its entire campus (485 buildings) in a 50-year partnership, with a commitment to reducing energy use by at least 25% in the first ten years of the contract, and a goal of gradually improving the sustainability of the whole campus. These targets will be met by implementing the solutions I described above.
I firmly believe that cities have a central role to play in the energy transition. At ENGIE, we are certain that today, the goal of building a better, more harmonious world is not just possible, but achievable, too.