Exploring the pathways to an energy transition - IfM at the SDEWES Conference
In 2015, energy demand was the source of 78% of the EU’s total emissions. In order to reduce these emissions, the European Environmental and Energy Policy set a framework of regulations to incentivise improvements along the energy supply value chain. These regulatory measures address national and local governance of the countries as well as various market segments and their participants.
Cities are an interesting platform for the implementation of innovative solutions, as complex ecosystems consisting of multiple highly interlinked systems and processes that provide a wide range of services to their citizens and local industry. The four cities within the ACCESS project will carry out pilots and demonstrator projects, which are used for the evaluation of the commercial implementation and roll-out pathways.
Driven by the national environmental policy goals, as well as grid constraint issues, two of the cities are planning pilots on peer-to-peer energy trading. The main objective is to identify and assess new solutions for a sustainable and affordable energy supply. The energy transition will mean the decentralisation of energy systems. Combined with other factors such as the roll-out of electric vehicles or the development of battery technologies, energy systems will have to be much more flexible and have better demand-side management. Peer-to-peer trading provides platforms for both prosumers and consumers for local energy exchange, capacity provision as well as offering energy services like flexible pricing systems and grid response.
The other two pilots focus on smart parking spaces in urban areas. Facing increased demand for parking spots for combustion as well as electric vehicles, the projects aim to develop integrated spaces for vehicles and smart grids infrastructure such as interconnected charging stations for electric vehicles, photovoltaic panels, electricity storage, and cooling systems. This infrastructure enables grid services, e.g. storage capacities and demand-side management.
Dr Diana Khripko, Solution Development Specialist at IfM ECS, University of Cambridge, (representing the collaborative work from the team: Dr Nicky Athanassopoulou, Dr Imoh Ilevbare and Dr Dorien Aerts from VITO) presented a methodological approach for smart cities of the ACCESS project at the SDEWES conference in Dubrovnik in early October. She highlighted the need for strategic planning and collaboration. Sustainable development cannot be done by running disjoint pilot projects within a clear vision and targets – that’s why knowledge sharing is at the heart of the ACCESS project. All four pilots are just incremental steps of an overall sustainable city development plan. The cities’ environmental and energy strategies are mostly driven by politics. The challenge for municipalities is to balance the large number of stakeholder interests over time while remain focused on their sustainability targets.