Although governments and municipalities believe strongly in the smart city model, they continue to struggle to fund these efforts. According to survey data from the 2017 Strategic Directions: Smart City/Smart Utility Report, only 16 percent of municipalities can self-fund a smart city initiative.
However, at this point, the advantages of the smart city evolution are extensive, and municipal leaders need to embrace all viable opportunities to generate funding, even those that are non-traditional and “outside the box.”
Public-private partnerships (P3s) are gaining traction as three-quarters of municipalities and smart service providers responded that they believe financing initiatives through P3s will bring smart cities to life.
Utilities that are actively investing and integrating smart infrastructure — a combination of sensor technology, automation and control devices paired with data analytics — into their water, wastewater and stormwater systems are opening the door to unprecedented levels of systems intelligence.
Utilities consistently face competing pressures – changes in water use behavior and advances in water efficiency help sustain precious resources, but impact utility revenues. To navigate their reality, utility managers have to proactively explore alternative approaches to managing resources, building financial resiliency and optimizing utility costs.
Alternative water supply (AWS) is taking on a more prominent role in portfolios particularly in coastal U.S. regions that face unique water challenges such as drought and seawater intrusion. California, Florida and Texas are moving forward with projects to develop and maximize alternative water supplies to meet demand and achieve sustainability and resilience goals.
Major planning and construction projects are underway in these regions to address the near-term threats of increasingly common flooding events and to proactively plan for long-term resilience.
Water utilities are finally recognizing the power in digitizing operations and increasing economies of scale to extend asset life and address legacy funding issues.
Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) is serious about their commitment to safe and reliable operations. To bolster their residential natural gas meter protection efforts, BGE partnered with Black & Veatch on an integrated plan to relocate and safeguard meters for more than 16,000 natural gas customers in the Baltimore, Maryland, region.
Canadian utility group Fortis Inc. owns a number of gas and electric utilities across North America. Two of these utilities faced ratemaking challenges that were impacting the level of rates paid by certain customers and the utilities’ future financial health.
Black & Veatch designed and built the world’s largest nutrient recovery facility at the Stickney WRP. The plant is providing an environmentally progressive solution to support the larger goal of reducing Gulf hypoxia.
Black & Veatch and FirstElement Fuel Inc. are working to rapidly bring hydrogen fueling stations to consumers in California who want a zero emission option for their cars. FirstElement Fuel selected Black & Veatch to engineer, permit and construct 19 hydrogen refueling stations across California.
Black & Veatch was chosen as the prime consultant for the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center (SVAWPC). The project is a regional approach and cooperative effort between the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the city of San José.