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Toronto cityscape at night

Innovating Urban Energy

Reducing the impact of urbanisation through energy efficiency


66% of the world's population will live in cities by 2050. As cities grow and evolve, an increasing emphasis is being placed on companies and municipal bodies to address the energy trilemma: lowering carbon emissions, ensuring reliable energy supply and, safeguarding long-term affordability.

Whilst these challenges aren’t new, cities and businesses alike can now tackle each with a range of tech-driven innovations that can quickly achieve a return on investment and help to lower a city’s reliance on fossil fuels.

As companies acknowledge the measurable advantages of tackling city energy challenges and, as a result, new funding mechanisms - such as Public Private Partnerships - are being created. Supported by improvements in ROI modelling and growth in expertise, businesses are forming mutually beneficial partnerships with city energy planners.

Our Perspective Paper, Innovating Urban Energy, selects five emerging urban energy innovations and was prepared for the World Energy Council to provide both insight and creative input to the authors of the Scenarios and Resources reports. This paper provides the blueprint for how cities can grow within a new energy framework.

At the centre of the new framework is the Transactive Energy model that the world is moving towards.

Transactive energy model gif

A system of economic and control mechanisms that allows the dynamic balance of supply and demand across the entire electrical infrastructure using value as a key operational parameter.

The GridWise Architecture Council

Opportunities for business

As cities improve their energy infrastructure, commerical enterprises will also benefit from these improvements. District cooling systems, such as our project in Kai Tak, will reduce energy bills and significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Kai Tak is a District cooling system which uses surrounding seawater to serve commercial offices, retail, transport infrastructure, community buildings, and residential housing. An estimated 85 million kWh will be saved per annum which is equivalent to HK$76.5 million on electricitity bills. Annual carbon dioxide emissions will also be reduced by a total 50,500 tonnes.

Integrated heat networks

Heat Networks allow cities and businesses to capture heat from numerous low-carbon sources. This can help smooth peak loads and avoid the constraits of grid capacities.

Urban energy water flow gif

Find out more

Discover more about how we're changing the Urban Energy landscape by visiting our interactive city map or read our paper, Innovating Urban Energy.