COMMENTARY: How City Planners Can Plan for the Energy Transition

Oct. 15, 2021
It goes beyond ESG compliance.

There are a number of ways city planners can strategically plan years in advance to enable utilities to accommodate for the clean energy transition so that there are no surprises. Taking giant steps toward your proactive stance on global environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) efforts, focusing in on the 3Ds (decarbonization, digitalization and decentralization), and working with emerging situational data represent just a few examples.

Beyond ESG compliance, city planners will need to focus on how to develop new organizational milestones and decision policies for investment and ROI factors in ESG. Taking modernized, giant leaps in how we justify cost-effective and consolidated strategies will prevail as we assess current and future asset health and risk tolerance in the global clean energy transition. City planners will also need to factor in the demands of COVID-19 in demographic behaviors, along with mobility/transit shifts over time, in facilitating transport electrification and other clean energy strategies.

To key in on the 3Ds, clean energy transition plans begin with digitalizing your organization’s guarded subject matter expertise, stellar decision policies, and data granularity. Advanced analytics will assist in precise and timely management of your clean-energy asset components and variables over the short-, medium-, and long-term. Decisions on how to decarbonize over the next few decades will be highly focused on integrated processes and automation of decentralized operations, as well as upkeeping business savviness to predict disruptions before they occur.

Additionally, it will be crucial to stretch your data beyond its comfort zone to anticipate hostile surprises. Challenge and outsmart status quo paths by working with emerging situational data. Decisions for asset investment and service levels in your clean energy transition should evolve with great agility along unprecedented contingencies that will surprisingly occur as we transition toward net-zero initiatives by 2050. As the artificial intelligence (AI) market matures, we find ourselves progressively adopting more innovative, AI-driven algorithms to support decision-making. City planners will also be relying upon innovative, cloud-based technology with enhanced computing capabilities to simulate asset evolution and select the best strategies for all possible outcomes – while considering all uncertainties and unforeseen events.