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‘ Renewable energy infrastructure as economic driver ‘

Shrinking cities, with their large parcels of vacant and low cost lands can function as nodes for renewable energy production with a primary vision of supplying energy to neighboring cities and territories.

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Need identification for the concept: Why invest in Energy industry?

“The European Commission’s Energy Road Map (March 2007) sets a goal of 20% of Europe’s overall energy needs to come from renewable sources by 2020.”


Currently 82 percent of Americans live in cities, and this would hit the 90 percent mark by the year 2050. Worldwide cities consume 65 percent of all energy generated, 60 percent of water used and 70 percent of all greenhouse gases produced. These numbers are only set to increase in the coming years. Cities of tomorrow need to look at ways to turn eco-friendly, while increasing quality of life for its residents. Imagine cities that would produce their own green energy, and would export surplus energy to its neighbors.

“Shrinking cities can act as the key locations for renewable energy production, noting that these cities, with their large parcels of vacant, low-cost land could serve the alternative energy industry well. Energy infrastructure includes power production facilities and distribution lines, as well as other assets needed to deliver power service to residences, businesses, and others in the nearby areas.”

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The availability of abundant derelict infrastructure clubbed along with active stakeholders and investors could turn the economic tables around for a city.

“Renewable energy technologies need space that dense and growing cities cannot easily provide. For example solar power can occur on rooftops and awnings in big cities, but offers much greater potential when staged on ground mounts on brownfields, suburban greyfields, or vacant land.“

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The initiative would look to harness solar energy, wind energy, biofuels and biomass.

Strategy, Methodology and Implementation:

1) Generating investments from across the country with tax rebates and other incentives.

2) Mapping of existing resources – Land, buildings, dense and sparse neighborhoods, open grounds, available man power.

2) Stake Holders Collobrative Consortium – Local government bodies, people, banks, universities (technical knowledge base and lab set-ups) and energy giants like Siemens, Suzlon with their experience of large scale execution.

3) Social regrouping - Reorganizing the population in order to centralize and better manage basic amenities and its proximity to people. With densification people will tend to socialize and actively use public amenities which would at certain levels bring about vibrancy. This would also help in grouping and collection of empty spaces within the urban fabric.

4) Mobilization and introduction of renewable energy infrastructure. Propagate the theory of Adaptive reuse of derelict built-up for processing, generation, collection and distribution infrastructure.

5) Energy generation begins and city transforms into a tourism hub showcasing eco-technology. Implementation until start of energy generation would take about 2yrs. Investment returns would begin soon after.

What resources (money, time, people, technology, etc) will your concept need to be successful?

The concept explores a top down approach, requiring initial investments that would take the form of collaborations with the common vision of introducing self sustaining infrastructural conduits. Derelict infrastructure within the city, human resource, and strong team of stakeholders would form the primary resources required to sustain this vision.

What steps could you take to implement this idea today?

As mentioned in strategy .

How can your idea be scaled so that it's implemented in cities around the world?

This being a pilot project would require the research, implementation and methodology to be custom made to suit the needs of the terrain, its people and the economy. The accumulated knowledge could be shared and build upon in order to implement similar visions in other cities with similar problems.

My Virtual Team

Concepts like -Recycle Detroit by Ken Thomas and design Detroit as the new sustainable city by Aina Cherry.


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