"All told, the municipality, energy outfits, and private companies are expected to invest more than $1 billion over the next three years. That figure includes a $383 million investment by local electricity network operator Alliander in so-called 'smart grid' technology that uses network sensors and improved domestic energy monitoring to trim electricity use. Also part of the plan: up to $255 million to be spent by local housing cooperatives on boosting household energy efficiency, and $383 million from companies including Phillips (PHG) and Dutch utility Nuon to be invested in other energy-efficient technology.
'In the next year and a half, we expect to be the leading smart city in Europe,' says Ger Baron, senior project manager at the Amsterdam Innovation Motor, a public-private joint venture that is overseeing the project. 'We're in the right place at the right time.'
The focus on cutting cities' emissions could have a major impact on the battle against global warming. As of 2006, more people now live in urban areas than in the countryside, and the sprawl surrounding megacities such as Mumbai and Saõ Paolo is only likely to increase. Consultancy Accenture (ACN) reckons cities produce almost two-thirds of total global carbon dioxide emissions through a combination of car fumes, household energy use, and industrial manufacturing. In the coming years, policy shifts from the U.S. and elsewhere will put even more pressure on controlling carbon output."