Refining the ACCESS pilot design process

10 March 2020 - Published by Sophie Rabasch

On the 2nd and 3rd of March, the ACCESS project partners were hosted by the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), University of Cambridge to work together on the preparation of four successful and ground-breaking local energy system pilots towards net-zero carbon municipalities.

The meeting kicked off with the cities outlining the progress they have made in setting up their pilots. Amersfoort has engaged with a number of European technology providers for the provision of a smart trading platform for its citizens. West Suffolk Council has been exploring the potential benefits of Peer-to-Peer trading for its local businesses. During its work, Mechelen municipality has launched the feasibility study for the creation of a Local Energy Community. Meanwhile, the city of Malmö is in the process of designing and procuring contractors for its pilot - a parking garage which will be a local energy hub, improving the city's self-sufficiency and flexibility.

In addition to partner cities providing updates on the development of their pilots, there were multiple breakout sessions. In these smaller groups, cities and knowledge partners worked together to discuss stakeholder engagement and the next steps needed to make pilots as successful and inclusive as possible. These sessions proved very productive - from developing a framework to contacting similar initiatives for their valuable input to the organisation of a tailored workshop with relevant stakeholders in the coming months, the knowledge partners are helping the cities determine how best to proceed to meet their specific ambitions.


Highlights of the meeting included:

  • All the partners reaffirmed the importance of collaborating with existing initiatives on smart local energy systems and smart grid pilots to build upon their lessons learned and best practices; 
  • The complexity of the local ecosystem in local energy initiatives requires a good understanding of stakeholders’ interests and priorities to ensure successful engagement and collaboration;
  • A lack of public best practices and tools to support municipalities in piloting and energy planning confirms the importance of the ACCESS ambition to provide a universally applicable toolbox for replication and upscaling;
  • Collaboration between ACCESS partners is going from strength to strength. The knowledge partners provide the expertise that is usually lacking for preparing pilots ready to be upscaled and well-aligned with the cities' ambitions.

The partners will meet again in June in Malmö to collaborate on the next challenges in the development and upscaling of smart energy systems in cities. 

For more information, you can always reach out to the project partners. For regular updates, don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter!