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The Emerging Era of Sustainable Smart-Cities

The European Commission, on June 6, 2018, awarded €20 million toward the development of Lighthouse Smart-Cities in Europe in order to achieve sustainable urban ecosystems. These ecosystems aim to have zero emissions and establish a 100% renewable energy city-region. This project was spearheaded by the organization +CityxChange, digitally driven by IOTA, funded by European Research and Horizon 2020, and overseen by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

The Lighthouse Smart-City project is an innovative and bold venture. “+CityxChange vision is to enable the co-creation of the future we want to live in,” according to the +CityxChange website. “This will include the development of a framework and supporting tools to enable a common energy market supported by a connected community. This will lead to recommendations for new policy intervention, market (de)regulation and business models that will deliver positive energy communities integrating e-Mobility as a Service (eMaaS).”

In efforts to promote a healthy world, the Smart-City project strives to reach the goals of European climate policy, “The Focus Area (building a low-carbon, climate resilient future) covers the main actions that can contribute to the goals of the Paris Agreement, which marked a new era in fighting climate change,” according to the +CityxChange website. “Actions aim to develop across all sectors ground-breaking technological and non-technological solutions, capable of achieving carbon neutrality and climate resilience in the second half of this century in Europe and beyond.”

The pioneering cities are Trondheim, Norway and Limerick, Ireland, which are referred to as the Lighthouse-Cities. The Follower-Cities include Võru, Estonia; Pisek, Czech Republic; Alba Iulia, Romania; Smolyan, Bulgaria; and Sestao, Spain.

The Lighthouse and Follower-Cities’ goals are to enable a common energy market; connect communities; and establish recommendations for new policy interventions, market regulation, and business models.

+CityxChange will implement 11 development projects for these smart-cities:

  1. Environmental data recording

  2. Positive energy district and city planning

  3. Co-creation of positive energy blocks (PEBs),

  4. Innovation through (de)regulation

  5. Accelerate change through innovation playgrounds

  6. Improved energy performance and implementation,

  7. Microgrids through positive energy blocks (PEB)

  8. e-Mobility as a Service

  9. Peer-to-peer trading within the PEB

  10. Establishing a flexibility market

  11. Enabling consumers to invest in their buildings

The emergence of these emerging sustainable smart-cities are exciting. Hopefully the concept catches on and these organizations provide a profitable and sustainable model for the rest of the world to adopt. Unfortunately, there is a push back against decentralized computing in Hawaii. In 2017, the Senate introduced bills SB3082 and HB2257, which puts heavy handled restrictions on cryptocurrencies that these smart-city projects utilize and stifles innovation, which leaves Hawaii in the dark ages.

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