With a population of 3.7 million inhabitants, Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan. Rapid urbanization poses significant urban challenges in terms of energy use, traffic jams, and pollution, which have led to a significant increase in the volume of total greenhouse gas emissions. The Yokohama Smart City Project strives to achieve a better management of energy use and mitigate climate change.
In 2010, the City of Yokohama formulated the Yokohama Smart City Project (YSCP), as a five year pilot in three Yokohama city districts and it has since been deployed to the entire city with a project area covering about 435 km2. The project applies smart grids for the energy management of households, buildings and local communities, introduces large scale renewable energy, and promotes next generation transport systems in order to demonstrate new urban management forms. The project’s mission is to establish a social system that can sustainable develop in an already established city.
In order to achieve this, the city introduced a Community Energy Management System (CEMS) to achieve efficient energy management by linking each EMS, such as in homes and buildings, and stationary energy storage. Specific goals include:
In addition, the city will provide 2,000 electric vehicles and charging stations for the transport sector. The use of renewable energy sources is also a priority for the city, as is an effort to change the way citizens relate to energy use. Solar power generation in 249 locations, wind power generation in 2 locations, hydropower generation in 3 locations, and biomass power generation in 6 locations will be implemented. In addition, consumers will receive incentives to limit electricity use, thus contributing to the reduction of CO2 at a lower social cost.
The main focus of the YSCP is to demonstrate energy management and demand response across the city, and contribute to Yokohama’s city goal of reducing carbon emissions by 16 percent by 2020, by 24 percent by 2030 and by 80 percent by 2050.
Citizen participation is key to the success of YSCP. For example, the Yokohama Eco School project (YES) was developed to increase citizen participation in YSCP and educate citizens about climate change through lectures, events and workshops. In 2012, 418 lectures were held for 35,000 participants and 121 partner organizations. This led to an increased number of Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS) installed in homes, as well as PV generation systems and storage batteries. Additionally, 4,000 households participated in the FY2014 demonstration project, showing high level of public spirit and making YSCP one of Japan’s largest energy saving projects to date.
Aspiring to be an environmental city of the future, Yokohama has sought to achieve high quality and good cost performance as a result of integrating Japanese advanced technologies and inexpensive mature technologies. Matching Japanese leading companies and the Smart Energy Management System, the YSCP will result in job creation. Further, the project will encourage citizens to be more environmentally aware by introducing electric vehicles, reducing ambient air pollution, and promoting healthy lifestyles.