It is one of the key issues that cannibalized the debate on the energy transition in France. In many other countries, this question is just as much important. In what, can the emergence of Smart Cities enlighten this alternative?
Let us put at first the set of a debate where the positions are fast extreme.
The defenders of nuclear power lean on its advantages, even if it means considering them under the most favourable angle:
– Its “non-polluting” character in the pretext that it does not emit CO2. It is a position, let us recognize it, that is “a little dared”.
– Its moderate cost, although this argument is partially disputed today
– The energy independence that it provides (all the big nuclear producers have tens even hundreds of years of consumption in stock)
The detractors of nuclear power ignore the advantages and insist on the dangers and the inconveniences of nuclear power:
– The risks of accident, threatening each of us
– The long-lasting harmfulness of the nuclear waste that will be an inheritance for dozens of generations
Nobody is wrong. The truth is in both points of view and will continue to evolve over time.
The purpose is not to argue in a caricatural way. On the decades to come, the evolution of the world nuclear production, planned still on the increase, will depend on the number of accidents, on their gravity and on the dramas, which will follow. Under the circumstances, the public opinions forget and decrease the pressure put on political deciders or burst out, under the influence of collective fears. So, the planned increase will be more or less confirmed.
The will to protect or to develop nuclear power, on one hand, and the emergence of Smart Cities, on the other hand, are two conflicting trends. The first one infers the centralization of the energy systems, even if it means not benefiting from a number of optimizations, the other one promotes decentralized systems. Let us not be too simplistic: it is not a question today of replacing some by the others and of being the advocate of an excessive decentralization but where do we want to place the cursor between these two poles?
I think that the development of Smart Cities is inevitable; its influence on the energy systems also. If we are not careful there, there will be thus frictions. To minimize them, we have to intervene in front of these evolutions or anticipate them and adapt ourselves to them?
This choice is almost a question of philosophy. But those who will intervene, shall invest rather to defend solutions with a limited future and will be surpass by those who will anticipate and who will invest rather to develop the solutions of tomorrow.
For my part, I recommend without hesitating to accompany the emergence of the solutions of tomorrow, without going faster than necessity.