Can India replicate Japan’s Kyoto smart city experiment?

Narendra Modi’s first bilateral visit outside India’s immediate neighbourhood as prime minister underlines high priority that Japan receives in foreign and economic policies. Modi’s Japan visit also starts from Japan’s old capital Kyoto, which is one of the four cities chosen for smart city experiment in Japan, and also shows the priority our prime minister has for smart city.

Japan has conducted smart city experiments in four locations- City of Yokohama, Toyota City, Keihanna Science City (Kyoto Prefecture) and City of Kitakyushu). First, the focus of these experiments is to identify the optimum form for smart grids and smart cities in Japan. Second, the focus is on exportation of these new energy and energy saving technologies and smart grid and smart city technologies to the rest of the world as it has been tested for last 4-5 years. Third, the projects will help in formulation of international standards and to promote linkages between participating companies and organizations to extend smart city experiments to other countries.

Kansai Bunka Gakujutsu Kenkyu Toshi (Kansai Science City) is situated in a hilly region that spans three prefectures (Kyoto, Osaka, and Nara Prefectures) and is the location of eight municipalities. It is a new city constructed by a national project to serve as a center of culture, learning, and research, a new cultural capital intended to open paths into the future. In addition to the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International and the Kansai-kan of the National Diet Library, the city is home to a large number of company laboratories and other research institutes, and possesses strong technological and communications capacity.

In addition to its research institutes, universities, companies and other institutions, Kansai Science City is proceeding with a large-scale housing development, making it the ideal location for testing and verifying the outcomes of research on advanced technologies and new social systems in cooperation with residents. Making full use of this environment, the project seeks to develop a Community Energy Management System (CEMS) that will minimize CO2 emissions without affecting quality of life or convenience for residents, looking towards the construction of a next-generation energy society.

The optimization of energy supply and demand on a global scale. Realization of this goal will involve the development of systems including CEMS for comprehensive management of energy in the community, a Home EMS (HEMS) to manage energy supply and demand in the home, power demand response (DR) for energy management including large-scale DR, a Building EMS (BEMS) to manage energy in buildings, an electric vehicle (EV) charging management system, and V2X (Vehicle to X). The linkage of these systems with the grid power.

The following five measures are being put into effect as the concrete means of achieving this goal: increase the rate of introduction of new energy sources, including photovoltaic generation, fuel cells, and small-scale wind power generation, to 10 percent or more; development of HEMS (home energy management systems) and BEMS (building energy management systems), which can be coordinated with community energy management, increasing the efficiency of energy saving; establishment of a Community Setsuden-sho, which provides advanced energy control and optimizes total energy distribution; in parallel with the establishment of charging infrastructure to facilitate large-scale introduction of EV, etc., the construction of next-generation traffic systems linking bicycles and public transport; and the extension of the new technological systems and business models emerging from the operational experiments to Asia via an Asia Low-carbon Center, and then to the world Subjects of operational experiments – Photovoltaic generation, wind power generation, heat energy, hydrogen, CEMS, BEMS, HEMS, EV, “demand bus lifestyle,” Datacenter and networks.

In order to introduce renewable energies on a large scale, the focus is also to increase the efficiency of power use and balance supply and demand, and establish a smart grid as a power transmission and distribution network able to stabilize power supply.

For utilizing energy more efficiently the focus is not exclusively on the power system, but also re-examining lifestyles with respect to use of heat energy and transport systems. To take into consideration electric vehicles (EV), the use of which is expected to expand in future, then the way the city’s energy usage will also change significantly; for example, EV batteries will be charged in ordinary households. For these reasons we cannot consider the smart grid and smart cities in isolation from each other.

The projects seek to create CEMS (community energy management systems) that will bring all of these together and optimize energy use for the community as a whole. The creation of CEMS will promote the introduction of renewable energies and other elements of the smart city without necessitating an excessive burden of cost, but it will also be necessary in parallel with these efforts to establish new services and business models to ensure that the comfort and convenience of citizens is not compromised.

All these components will definitely help our cities become smart both in energy generation and consumption through large-scale introduction of next-generation vehicles and their linkage with public transport.

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