Give and take: REMOURBAN at the EU Sustainable Energy Week

As part of this year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW), REMOURBAN’s Miguel García Fuentes (CARTIF) and Philip James (Nottingham City Homes) joined two discussion events in Brussels about smart cities.

 

Organised by the Smart Cities Information System (SCIC), the first event brought together innovative thinkers and decision makers to share their insights into scaling up and replicating smart building solutions. As one of the 75 attendees, Miguel said after the event that “it was particularly useful to have both Lighthouse cities and follower cities around the same table. In that way we could have the perspectives of the demonstrators and replicators and hone in on the nitty gritty of replication beyond the projects themselves”.

 

The session in which Philip participated gathered the 9 Lighthouse projects and looked at the lessons learnt so far in these projects in terms of grids, storage and prosumer models. For Philip, one of the main lessons was that technology can be the easy bit. He explained that “It is also about new structures, service providers, contractual arrangements etc. This can be the real challenge and it comes with significant risks and uncertainties. Funding and support is vital to allow these challenges to be overcome”. The audience was interested in the challenges of implementing district heating especially with individual gas heating currently at low cost, the usefulness of battery storage and whether it is always the best option, and the challenges of rolling out exemplar projects on a larger scale. From REMOURBAN’s perspective, Philip stated “It was very interesting to learn about different cities and their particular successes, opportunities and challenges”. Examples include the high level of electric vehicle uptake in Stockholm and its grid impact, the opportunities of the high level of municipally owned housing in Vienna, the tradition of large scale district heating in Essen, and the opportunities in Sonderborg to use surplus electricity for heat via a large scale heat pump. “Different cities have different opportunities and different challenges in the short-term; there may be more convergence in the longer term”.

 

All in all, EUSEW represented another great opportunity to meet up with other Lighthouse projects and experts, and also to share knowledge and experience to a wider audience.


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