The smart communities movement is taking hold rapidly – not only across the country, but around the globe. Driven by a broad and diverse group of local leaders, organizations, and individuals, smart communities benefit neighborhoods by making them safer, cleaner, and more energy efficient. The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) has released data and city profiles examining how the electric power industry is sitting at the intersection of digital technology and intelligent infrastructure, while enabling the development of smart communities.
America's electric companies are well-positioned to participate and collaborate in this exciting new world defined by modern infrastructure, high-speed digital networks, and big data analytics, which all are dependent upon safe, reliable, affordable, and increasingly clean energy. The role of electric companies goes well beyond providing the essential service of electricity. Smart communities can be highly individualized, with capabilities and infrastructure tailored to the priorities and needs of the communities they serve. Companies can leverage their existing networks and experience to design flexible infrastructure to meet current and future energy needs affordably. In addition, they can expand their networks to serve new and broader objectives.
The electric power industry already is leading efforts to move quickly to cleaner and more renewable generations sources for customers. By the end of 2017, electric companies reduced carbon dioxide emissions 27 percent below 2005 levels, and that trajectory is set to continue. Between 1990 and 2017, electric companies reduced emissions of nitrogen oxides by 84 percent and sulfur dioxide by 92 percent. At the same time, electricity usage increased by more than one-third.
Electricity is the fuel for the modern economy, and electric companies can be at the forefront of this movement to create smart communities of the future that are interconnected, efficient, clean, and safe. Everything in regard to smart communities depends on the availability of safe, reliable, affordable, and cleaner energy. Smarter energy infrastructure has the power to transform common streetlights into crime-fighters, everyday buildings into automated systems, traffic jams into traffic flows, and basic information kiosks into connected networks.
The term "smart community" really is an umbrella for modernization, interconnection, efficiency, sustainability, and improving quality of life for customers. Throughout the country electric companies are well-positioned to serve as foundational partners and ongoing leaders in the smart communities movement. Electric companies have the existing infrastructure, reach, and relationships that already connect our communities. We look forward to continuing to have a productive dialogue with all stakeholders within our communities about working together to achieve real progress.
Click here for more examples of how electric companies are partnering with their local communities and playing a leading role in developing these smart communities across the nation.