All around the world more and more of us want to live in cities. Estimates are that by 2020 more than half of us will. And for the planet this is actually a good thing. Because living densely makes it easier for us to share important things, such as libraries, amusement parks, schools and hospitals. And we can transport ourselves together in a lot of smart ways, letting us use energy more efficiently. We can also share the heating of our homes in a much smarter way, compared to living in separate houses.
Using energy more efficiently is something we get better and better at. However, people also tend to use it at the same time – at some hours we use much more electricity than at other times of the day. And it would be much smarter if we could shift our usage a bit, so less energy is needed at any given time.
The Swedish energy system, both electricity and heating, is almost completely fossil free. And by 2050 it is supposed to contain no fossil fuels at all. But this is not the case in other places around the world. So we have to build energy systems that are better at decreasing the amount of energy needed simultaneously. And better at using weather dependent energy sources in a smarter way. Then we can lower the emission of greenhouse gases.
Stockholm Royal Seaport – a climate smart part of the capital
In Stockholm there is a new district taking shape called Stockholm Royal Seaport. Besides being a nice place for living and working, it will be one of the nicest places in the world for planet earth. The City of Stockholm has decided to make it a hub for the development of Swedish environmental technology, in everything from housing to creating smart solutions for public transport and the use of energy. And the district has some tough climate goals – by 2020 people living there are supposed to emit no more than 1.5 tons CO2 per person, compared to the 4.5 tons emitted by the average Swede today. And by 2030 Stockholm Royal Seaport is supposed to be completely fossil free.
One university, four large corporations and 150 families
All climate goals, global as well as local, have one thing in common; they are set to speed up the development of a sustainable society. To achieve this we need, among other things, research. Research that can lead to new products and services that are smart and easy to use. Based on sustainable solutions.
So with the help of the Swedish Energy Agency, we at Fortum, Ericsson, ABB and Electrolux, together with the Royal Institute of Technology, have started the research project Smart Energy in Stockholm Royal Seaport.
We want to find out how to build the world’s smartest electricity grid. One that makes it easier to use energy from weather dependent production, such as solar and wind power. One that can learn from the behaviour of electricity users, and control and adapt production, distribution and usage in a smart way. And one that can utilize all the information in the grid to detect the demand for, and then supply, maintenance only when it’s needed.
We will also study what the energy-smart home could look like. How people living in it can see what kind of energy they’re using, how it affects the environment and how much it costs. And, perhaps most important of all, if they will make active green choices, with the help of a smart communication system and smart plugs, thermostats and appliances.
To make it a really good research project we need more than large corporations with technological knowhow. We need people that use energy. In houses to be built by NCC, HEBA and Erik Wallin 150 families will be moving in; washing clothes, cooking food, taking showers and watching films. Just like normal families, but in smarter apartments. And with their help we hope to achieve results that can contribute to more smart energy solutions. In many more places.
We aim for more cooperation all over the world
The research project Smart Energy in Stockholm Royal Seaport follows a pilot study and another research project, partly financed by Vinnova and the Swedish Energy Agency. There we looked closer at how a family that was able to monitor their electricity usage in real time, and had the help of a few smart appliances, changed the way they used electricity.
After the pilot study, we at Fortum, Ericsson, ABB and Electrolux decided to aim bigger. So in the current research project on smart energy we test a large-scale solution. We believe that the combination of consumer power, a grid utilizing new smart technology and ordinary technology in a new way, can provide interesting results. Results that can lead to wider research and commercial solutions, created together with both small and large companies all over the world.
The goal of the research project is climate smart systems, with products and services that are clear-cut, separate units. Built on technology that works everywhere. This makes it easy to connect them to other products and services, in other markets. And customers are able to choose the solutions they want, whether they’re in Kiruna or Kathmandu. Smart Energy in Stockholm Royal Seaport may sound very local. But our aim is global.