Empowering Urban Energy Transitions

Smart cities and smart grids

Modern Buildings With Solar Panels On The Roof Italy Shutterstock 2083613173

About this report

In the context of the recent agreement at COP28 in Dubai and the current state of play of urban power systems – from G7 countries to emerging markets and developing economies – this report analyses the steps needed to achieve net zero emissions from electricity, and considers the wider implications for energy security, sustainability and affordability.

The decarbonisation of cities is a global priority, and local governments are instrumental in achieving national commitments and objectives. Improved access to and use of data for decision making can support faster and more targeted implementation and help align city and power system planning. Digital solutions and systems can be particularly powerful in cities, where high-density environments create economies of scale and can optimise infrastructure and create new opportunities. Exploring a wide range of projects and initiatives implemented in power systems and cities around the world, the report provides insights on emerging best practices, innovative approaches and how barriers and challenges can be tackled. Our focus is on ways national governments can help cities accelerate clean, affordable and inclusive energy transitions, and ensure resilience and an ability to adapt to climate change.

The report also underscores how G7 members can foster innovation through international collaboration, creating enabling environments at the city level to deploy scalable pilot projects, support integrated planning and promote data sharing, all while maintaining electricity security and placing people at the centre of clean energy transitions.

The IEA gratefully acknowledges the Italian Ministry of Environment and Energy Security for its support of this project as part of its contributions to the IEA’s Digital Demand Driven Electricity Networks Initiative (3DEN) on electricity grid modernisation and digitalisation and to the Clean Energy Transitions Programme.