Energy use: Shell study groups Bangkok, Tokyo, Rio in sprawling-metropolis category

Economy June 04, 2014 00:00

By Pichaya Changsorn
The Nation

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Global energy use is concentrated in two city archetypes - spawning metropolis and prosperous communities - with Bangkok falling into the same sprawling metropolises category as Tokyo and Rio de Janerio, according to Shell.

The petroleum company’s “New Lenses on Future Cities” study highlights the impacts of accelerating urbanisation on the future shapes of the world’s mega cities, particularly on their energy consumption scenarios.
The research, which covered more than 500 urban centres, including mega cities with more than 10 million residents, groups cities into six archetypes. 
The findings show Dubai and Stockholm are included in the prosperous communities group that has low density and high per capita gross domestic product.
Jefferson Edwards, general manager for global gas and LNG market development at Shell, said yesterday that the world’s population was projected to grow from 7 billion to 9 billion by the middle of the century and 75 per cent of that growth would take place in cities. 
China alone will have 1 billion people living in urban areas in 2020, or in other words, 350 million people more than the US population will migrate to the cities at that time. 
“And this also means 75 per cent of energy consumption and CO2 will come to the cities,” he said.
The other archetypes are “developing mega-hubs” like Hyderabad and Chongqing; “urban powerhouses” like Singapore, New York and Hong Kong; and underdeveloped urban centres – the most common archetype – which is a low energy user group.
Attractive cities
Shell’s chief energy adviser Wim Thomas said at a book launch held at the World Cities Summit 2014 in Singapore, that compact, densely populated, well-planned cities with effective integrated infrastructure and services were more resource-efficient, and with appropriate attention, they could also be attractive places to live in.
Compact, more densely populated cities like Hong Kong use significantly less energy per person than sprawling cities like Bangkok and Los Angeles because people live closer to where they shop, work and play, so they use less energy to get around. 
When those compact cities are served by reliable, cleaner transport networks, energy use is reduced even further.
The book, published in partnership with the Singaporean government’s Centre for Liveable Cities, is the first of a series of supplements that Shell will release on urbanisation and future energy. It follows from the New Lens Scenarios that the firm published in March last year.