French multinational electric utility ENGIE announced on Thursday that it had signed a 50-year strategic alliance with the city of Greater Springfield in Queensland, Australia, to help transition it to being a zero net energy city by 2038.
ENGIE is intending to bring its “Better Cities TODAY” approach to Greater Springfield, which bills itself as Australia’s newest city. Greater Springfield is built around connective pillars of health, education, and information technology, and already boasts a population nearing 40,000 on the doorstep to the state’s capital, Brisbane. Over the next 20 years, Greater Springfield intends to triple its overall resident and working population, and develop within its CBD up to 2.6 million square-meters of mixed-use buildings and 22,850 apartments. Unsurprisingly, therefore, the city’s future will rely heavily on solid and sustainable planning now.
The strategic alliance between the two organizations intends to deliver investments in renewable energy generation and energy storage infrastructure, district energy schemes, green mobility solutions, digital technology, energy efficiency initiatives, and a dedicated research and innovation center. Thus, by 2038, the two hope to ensure that the six suburbs that make up Greater Springfield will be generating more energy than they consume.
“The partnership between ENGIE and Springfield City Group will enable the creation of a better, safer and more efficient environment for residents,” said Didier Holleaux, ENGIE Executive Vice President. “By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will be living in cities. Through our “Better Cities TODAY” approach, ENGIE is at the forefront of developing solutions to meet the economic, environmental and societal challenges that come with that growth. Greater Springfield is ENGIE’s first “Better Cities TODAY” project in Australia and I’m very pleased that ENGIE with its world class know-how in energy, and particularly district energy, can contribute to the visionary Greater Springfield Project and to the well-being and harmonious life of its residents.”
The “Better Cities TODAY” approach was launched in July of this year, and was designed around ENGIE’s identification of seven major challenges which face the vast majority of local authorities: making their facilities more energy efficient, making savings, making cities safer places, providing greener, smarter, and more resilient mobility options, enhancing quality of life, increasing the appeal of their local area, and stimulating connectivity. Specifically, instead of just providing energy to local authorities, ENGIE bills its “Better Cities TODAY” approach as providing “tangible improvement of existing infrastructure” through a combination of appraisal and regeneration services that will make a city more efficient, less costly, and better performing.
“As a recognised nation building project we have one chance and a responsibility to get this right as an ongoing example for others to follow,” added Greater Springfield’s founder and city visionary, Maha Sinnathamby. “The focus on efficient and sustainable energy production, storage and integration with the community has never been more important for Australia and for us. I’m confident that ENGIE can assist us to be a world leader in innovative and smart city solutions.”