The core of the NINA solution is to integrate utility services into a surface accessible curb, guttering and ducting system.
NINA creates a “dig once” solution to a wide variety of infrastructure access needs. The system “frames” the residential blocks and allows them to be linked as a series of loops. The patent protected system of linked loops provides strength and flexibility to the network, a significant improvement on the current system which can see blackouts and service stoppages in major urban zones due to slight damage or routine maintenance work in particular sensitive locations.
The system also allows for relatively clean rainwater and storm water run-off to be isolated from contact with road surfaces, which is where the most serious water contamination occurs. Not only is NINA extremely environmentally friendly, but this isolated water can also be used as an economic resource of potentially staggering value!
Combining utilities into a “common networking architecture” of connected loops creates significant economies of scale and scope.
The NINA Patent (Australian patent No. 2011284803) identifies over 62 specific advantages of the modular ducting sections over the current system. It also identifies a further 44 advantages of the “ducting system”. The environmental benefits include a significant decrease in carbon emissions, (through increased transmission efficiency), and the potential for electric cars to become a daily reality.
Following the installation of the NINA Access Pathway, the location of cables is always known, trees no longer need trimming, utility lines can be repaired or installed without digging, and the marginal cost of introducing new, competitive or upgraded services is low (which has major positive implications for national productivity.)
Since footpaths and roads will no longer need to be regularly dug up, NINA will allow for urban areas to invest in aesthetically pleasing and high quality urban infrastructure that is built to last for generations.
Existing systems can be built around and not disrupted by the construction of the system. This allows for the roll-out of the system in established areas, massively increasing the potential market. Once NINA is in place in a particular area, it will be very difficult for utilities to avoid entering the space, as it will be significantly cheaper and more efficient than their legacy systems.
NINA research has looked closely at the direct benefits and economic impacts of the NINA Access Pathway upon local communities. They include:
Strong voter support
Particularly where there is no direct cost impact.
Privatization of the curb systems removes the costs of maintenance of that system. Curb and gutter maintenance is estimated at 4% of LGA General Public Services and Transport expenditure (GS&T) which equals about $450m annually across Australia. NINA transforms this drain on funds into an income producing asset.
The possibility of charging for land use
The NINA economic modeling assumes an LGA royalty of 5% of lease/rental revenues. A national rollout would see this amount reach an estimated $1.4 billion per annum in local Government revenues. The higher density LGA would be in proportion to the population and household numbers within the LGA. This represents approximately 20% of rate receipts.
Increased land values feeding into rates
Various councils have sought to quantify the land improvement value of removing power poles. Submissions by Councils to an IPART Enquiry (2002) quote the Valuer Generals Department in NSW as indicating a 5% improvement, which flows directly into LGA revenues. We have estimated this benefit to be worth approximately $436m nationally.
The NINA Access Pathway introduces a competitive, local, clean water source into communities. This would be graded water with substantial quantities available for parks, gardens and community uses. It can support lower charges for LGA water consumption and may include a preferential community allocation. Estimated based upon a wholesale charge of 2.00 per cubic meter (kL) and 5% of water collected supplied to LGA is $754m nationally
Competitive supply of street lighting
Councils incur the primary costs of street lighting. (Estimated at 2% savings of GS&T ~$225m)
Reduced local flooding from storms leading to lower maintenance. Estimated at 1% GS&T $113)
Reduced damage to urban streetscapes leading to reduced maintenance.
Reduced fatalities due to car crashes.
Increased space on footpaths for pedestrians.
Higher quality surfaces not degraded by utility companies.
Indicative cumulative financial benefits from increased revenues and saving attributable to the NINA Access Pathway after an Australian wide deployment are approximately $3,125m per annum- an additional $306 per household per year.
It is not necessary to wait for completion of the national roll-out for benefits to begin accruing. Benefits begin accruing immediately upon the installation of the NINA Access Pathway.
Local Government is constrained by limited access to funding, limited capacity to increase rates and rising service expectations. Against this background the possibility to remove power poles, increase revenues and reduce costs is an attractive proposition.
Rather than power poles and underground pipes, NINA elegantly installs all utility infrastructure into the space currently occupied by the curb. This system is cheaper and more efficient, reducing bills for consumers, and raising revenue for councils and investors. A family can invest in the pathway outside their home and reap the benefits of increased national productivity. Within the concrete channel, barriers separate electricity, water and gas to ensure safety. Clean water is kept clean and dirty water is processed separately. The system is economically and ecologically beneficial.