Ever-increasing energy consumption, rising prices of crude oil and other fossil fuels, and global warming are pressing issues in the contemporary world.
Clearly, we need to shift to a society where we make full use of renewables,such as solar power and wind power, while at the same time minimizing energy consumption.
Next-generation infrastructure will make this possible by connecting homes, commercial buildings, and transportation systems over IT networks to enable efficient use of energy in a community.That’s a Smart Community.
Let’s take a look at a Smart Community in 2030.
Until now, large power stations have been supplying electricity to homes, commercial buildings and factories.
A Smart Community makes full use of wind power, solar power and other renewables to generate the electricity it uses. Homes, commercial buildings, factories, and open spaces have facilities generating electricity.
However, electricity generation using renewables is dependent on the weather.
Electricity consumption, on the other hand, changes continually.
In a Smart Community, IT-based control of changing power supply and demand will enable efficient and stable use of electricity.
Let's take a look at the benefits of a Smart Community.
For example, on a hot summer's day, electricity demand may exceed the forecast owing to the heavy use of air conditioners.
The control center sends signals to homes to curtail electricity consumption and to facilitate use of electricity from photovoltaic power generation.
Then, according to individual homes' preset programs, home appliances using electricity will switch to energy-saving mode or stop operation.
Meanwhile, photovoltaic power generation will be used or the battery of an electric vehicle will supply electricity needed at home.
A benefit to homes that curtail electricity consumption will be a discount of their electricity bills because of their contribution to energy saving and reduction of CO2 emissions.
From "energy saving that compromises comfort and convenience" to "energy saving at a glance" through display of energy data.
Moreover, automatic control will enable "optimum energy saving," bringing economic benefits to households.
The control center is at the heart of a Smart Community.
It forecasts energy demand and electricity output based on the results of the community's energy supply and demand and weather information.
Based on the forecast, a large power station generates electricity efficiently.
Renewables satisfy a large portion of demand.
Variations in energy supply and demand are flexibly accommodated within the community to ensure efficient energy use.
For example, in the daytime.
Surplus electricity generated by photovoltaic power generation in a residential area is supplied to a commercial area for use.
In this way, energy use is optimized throughout the community.
A Smart Community uses not only electricity but various other types of energy.
Heat discharged from factories and power stations is used for district heating & cooling.
Hydrogen, a by-product of certain industrial processes, is also used.
In a Smart Community, transportation systems are also interactive.
For example, flexible bus rapid transit (BRT) will meet people's needs.
Based on traffic information transmitted by intelligent transportation systems (ITS), vehicles select the optimum routing, resulting in less congestion.
And autonomous driving functions will realize the ultimate eco-driving.
Vehicles also store electricity.
For example, in a car sharing service, electricity is supplied from vehicles currently not in use to energy consuming facilities in the community.
A vehicle-to-grid (V2G) system will emerge where vehicles become part of the energy infrastructure.
Creating new relationships between people and energy.
Community development centering on energy will realize the 3Es-energy security, economy, and environmental protection?for an affluent society.
The Smart Community is just around the corner.