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Scottish Cities Alliance Release Smart City Projects

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Scottish Cities Alliance Release Smart City Projects

Today marks an announcement from the Scottish Cities Alliance of Smart City projects that will be taken forward across the seven cities wth the aim of transforming them into world-leading digital hubs.

Last year, the Alliance launched its Smart Cities Scotland identity with the announcement that it had been allocated up to £10million in European Regional Development Funding (ERDF), which is to be matched with £14million from the cities.

This ground-breaking Smart Cities Scotland programme aims to make services across Scotland’s cities become more efficient and greener while making the cities themselves more attractive to potential investors.


The Scottish Cities Alliance, which is the collaboration of Scotland’s seven cities and the Scottish Government, aims to use Smart City technology to transform cities into digital hubs to enable them to become more internationally competitive and boost economic growth.

This programme aims to transform everything from street lighting to healthcare and from public safety to controlling energy use to make life smarter using open data.

The “Smart” ambitions of Scotland’s cities are connected to projects the cities believe will help them become some of the most desirable places to live and work and most sustainable locations in the world. Projects that have been given the green light include:

  • Smart Infrastructure – Intelligent Street lighting: Aberdeen, Perth, Stirling and Glasgow are piloting Intelligent Street Lighting which will deliver a range of benefits, including more controllable and efficient lighting, delivering energy savings and enhanced public and road safety. This will reduce CO2 emissions by using LED bulbs and sensors to control the lights.
  • Smart Services – Waste : Perth, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling will work collaboratively in order to deliver improved waste management services, including deployment of smart bin technology and innovative smart technology deployed in the waste management process to enhance waste and recycling collections through improved monitoring and sharing of data and information. Sensors in bins will alert waste management services to empty the bin only when full, improving efficiency.
  • Smart Infrastructure – Innovation Labs: An innovation hub in Perth will develop new businesses in the digital and creative sectors linking to research and education. The Hub aims to foster new businesses and encourage entrepreneurs; but within the facility the Innovation Lab will take this further in terms of developing smart city technologies and solutions.
  • Open Data operations: Cities will create data publication platforms with the introduction of data analytics which will allow cities to make evidence based decisions in order to improve services and delivery. This means more informed decisions will be made leading to efficiency

The £10 million ERDF is part of the Smart Growth element of the 2014-20 ERDF programme and will support the ‘Scotland’s 8th City – the Smart City Strategic Intervention’. The ambition is to make a step change in the use of smart technology for integrated city management across the seven cities, not just individually but collectively, so creating the 8th city. The data gathered will be made widely available for others to use: it can be used in the development of new products and services and will create more responsive and appropriate services. To date 10 operations have been approved with £6.7m grant committed with further operations currently being considered.


Glasgow leads on the Smart Cities programme for the Alliance and Scotland’s Smart Cities will use the learning and experience and build on the work of Glasgow’s award-winning Future City Glasgow programme, which created a world-leading Operations Centre catapulting the city to the forefront of Smart Cities technology.

Our success in pioneering smart city technologies is something we will continue to build on to deliver transformed services for residents, businesses and visitors

Councillor Frank McAveety, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Future City Glasgow, said: “Glasgow, as lead city for this programme in Scotland, worked with our partners across the country both to submit this bid and show how the use of data can benefit us all socially and economically. Our success in pioneering smart city technologies is something we will continue to build on to deliver transformed services for residents, businesses and visitors.”

Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Keith Brown announced the European Regional Development Funding at the inaugural Smart Cities Scotland launch last year.

He said: “Through the Scottish Cities Alliance we are working to boost Scotland’s cities and make them smarter.

“That’s why I’m pleased to see this programme move into its delivery phase with the wide range of projects announced today set to make our cities more efficient and greener, as well as more attractive to potential investors.

“This £24 million investment will use Smart City technology to transform our cities into world-leading digital hubs which will improve services and empower residents. I look forward to seeing how it can make our cities more internationally competitive and boost economic growth.”

Chair of the Scottish Cities Alliance, Councillor Andrew Burns, said: “We are delighted to announce the projects that will transform Scotland’s cities into Smart Cities, giving them the edge to attract more investment.

“By working together Scotland’s cities are utilising economies of scale to learn individually and share that knowledge collectively, to be at the cutting edge of Smart City technology and the benefits that brings. Our inter-city approach to developing Smart City solutions has been praised publicly by the European Commission and we have attracted the attention of other nations who are looking to emulate our collaborative model.

“By working together the Alliance partners share knowledge and are creating projects of scale that will deliver an economically stronger future for Scotland.”

Energy

Are the UK Governments Plans for the Energy Sector Smart?

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The revolution in the energy sector marches on, wind turbines and solar panels are harnessing more renewable energy than ever before – so where is it all leading?

The UK government have recently announced plans to modernise the way we produce, store and use electricity. And, if realised, the plans could be just the thing to bring the energy sector in line with 21st century technology and ideologies.


Central to the plans is an initiative that will see smart meters installed in homes and businesses the length and breadth of the country – and their aim? To create an environment where electricity can be managed more efficiently.

The news has prompted some speculation about how energy suppliers will react and many are predicting a price war. This could benefit consumers of electricity and investors, many of whom may be looking to make a profit by trading energy company shares online using platforms such as Oanda – but the potential for good news doesn’t end there.

Introducing New Technology

The plan, titled Smart Systems and Flexibility is being rolled out in the hope that it will have a positive impact in three core areas.

  • To offer consumers greater control by making smart meters available for all homes and businesses by 2020. Energy users will be able to monitor, control and record the amount of energy they use.
  • Incentivise energy suppliers to change the manner in which they buy electricity, to offer more smart tariffs and more off-peak periods for energy consumption.
  • Introduce new standards for electrical appliances – it is hoped that the new wave of appliances will recognise when electricity is at its cheapest and at its most expensive and respond accordingly.

How the Plans Will Affect Solar Energy

Around 7 million houses in the UK have solar panels and the government say that their plan will benefit them as they will be able to store electricity on batteries. The stored energy can then be used by the household and excess energy can be exported to the national grid – in this instance lower tariffs or even payment for the excess energy will bring down annual costs significantly.


The rate of return on energy exported to the national grid is currently between 6% and 10%, but there are many variables to take into account, such as, the cost of battery storage and light levels. Still, those with state-of-the-art solar electricity systems could end up with an annual profit after selling their excess energy.

The Internet of Things

Much of what the plans set out to achieve are linked to the now ubiquitous “internet of things” – where, for example, appliances and heating systems are connected to the internet in order to make them function more smartly.

Companies like Hive have already made great inroads into this type of technology, but the road that the government plans are heading down, will, potentially, go much further -blockchain technology looms and has already proved to be a game changer in the world of currency.

Blockchain Technology

It has already been suggested that the peer to peer selling of energy and exporting it to the national grid may eventually be done using blockchain technology.

“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution (2016)

The upshot of the government’s plans for the revolution of the energy sector, is that technology will play an indelible role in making it more efficient, more flexible and ultimately more sustainable.

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Energy

4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy

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Demand for solar energy is growing at a surprising rate. New figures from SolarPower Europe show that solar energy production has risen 50% since the summer of 2016.

However, many people are still skeptical of the benefits of solar energy.Does it actually make a significant reduction in our carbon footprint? Is it actually cost-effective for the company over the long-run?


A number of case studies have been conducted, which indicate solar energy can be enormously beneficial. Here are some of the most compelling studies on the subject.

1.     Boulder Nissan

When you think of companies that leverage solar power, car dealerships probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind. However, Boulder Nissan is highly committed to promoting green energy. They worked with Independent Power Systems to setup a number of solar cells. Here were the results:

  • Boulder Nissan has reduced coal generated electricity by 65%.
  • They are on track to run on 100% renewable energy within the next 13 years.
  • Boulder Nissan reduced CO2 emissions by 416,000 lbs. within the first year after installing their solar panels.

This is one of the most impressive solar energy case studies a small business has published in recent years. It shows that even small companies in rural communities can make a major difference by adapting solar energy.

2.     Valley Electric Association

In 2015, the Valley Electric Association (VEA) created an 80-acre solar garden. Before retiring from the legislature, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid praised the new project as a way to make the state more energy dependent and reduce our carbon footprint.


“This facility will provide its customers with the opportunity to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from clean energy produced in Nevada,” Reid told reporters with the Pahrump Valley Times. “That’s a step forward for the Silver State, but it also proves that utilities can work with customers to provide clean renewable energy that they demand.”

The solar energy that VEA produced was drastically higher than anyone would have predicted. SolarWorld estimates that the solar garden created 32,680,000 kwh every year, which was enough to power nearly 4,000 homes.

This was a major undertaking for a purple state, which may inspire their peers throughout the Midwest to develop solar gardens of their own. It will reduce dependency on the electric grid, which is a problem for many remote states in the central part of the country.

3.     Las Vegas Casinos

A number of Las Vegas casinos have started investing in solar panels over the last couple of years. The Guardian reports that many of these casinos have cut costs considerably. Some of them are even selling the energy back to the grid.

“It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts told Guardian reporters. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”

There have been many benefits for casinos using solar energy. They are some of the most energy-intensive institutions in the world, so this has helped them become much more cost-effective. It also helps minimize disruptions to their customers learning online keno strategies in the event of any problems with the electric grid.

4.     Boston College

Boston College has been committed to many green initiatives over the years. A group of researchers experimented with solar cells on different parts of the campus to see where they could produce the most electricity. They discovered that the best locationwas at St. Clement’sHall. The solar cells there dramatically. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 521,702 lbs. a year and be enough to save 10,869 trees.

Boston College is exploring new ways to expand their usage of solar cells. They may be able to invest in more effective solar panels that can generate far more solar energy.

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