According to the WP 2/2014 An urban metabolism survey design for megacities study presented by the Enel Study Foundation Centre at recent the Ecology today: responsibility and governance conference, more than 38 megacities will be the home of some 685 million people by 2020. The report, which is another step forward in research on energy and sustainable urban development, stresses that energy will be key to ensuring sustainable development in megacities.
In an era featuring the fight against climate change, the development of these large conurbations, each home to more than 10 million inhabitants, will face the huge challenge of ensuring essential services to an increasing population while limiting or even reducing the growth of greenhouse gas emissions.
As such, the energy industry will play a huge role in the development of megacities, by ensuring that their ecosystems works properly. Electricity grids will not only have to ensure energy supplies, but will also have to provide several services to make sure that megacities function efficiently.
One already existing example of this is smart street lighting, which combines energy efficiency with safety and traffic management. Thanks to the remote control system developed by Enel Sole, the lighting system can be managed at a distance, diagnostics of equipment and plants can be carried out in order to improve the service provided to customers and, in case of breakdowns, to take prompt action.
The development of concentrator technology, devices installed in transformer substations that collect data from electronic meters, is becoming increasingly important, and Enel is a recognised leader in the field.
In particular, the installation of cutting-edge wireless modems that harness radio waves will enable the new concentrators to receive other types of data, such as from gas meters. This way energy companies will be able to provide meter reading and management services to gas distribution firms. Additionally, concentrators will be able to receive information from other public utility devices, for instance from new smart bins, and forward them to urban refuse collection companies and the local council.