+CityxChange (Positive City ExChange) is a smart city project, that has been granted funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme in the call for ‘Smart cities and communities.’ The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) is the host and leads the +CityxChange consortium together with the Lighthouse Cities Trondheim Kommune and Limerick City and County Council.
From a top-down system to a fluid one
Municipalities are already facing completely different complexities within their societies. In order to keep up with this rapid pace of change, and to guarantee the well-functioning of their cities, municipalities must improve their approach on how to utilise their resources and engage with new technologies. Recent technological developments have changed and reshaped the functioning scheme of different service sectors, including the energy markets. The consumption-production model is becoming more complex in terms of design, operation and maintenance. This is accompanied by the introduction of new key elements to the system, such as renewable source, energy storage, smart grids, data management and prosumers.
While changes in the energy market design in the past related primarily to wholesale markets, nowadays, new technologies are fundamentally changing the markets at the distribution level. The traditional DNO (Distribution Network Operator) distribution model which was focused on the one-way delivery of electricity, with clear and reliable definitions of up- and downstream is challenged by locally distributed generation and decentralised means of electricity trade. Instead of only fulfilling their basic responsibilities – ensuring reliable energy supply and quality of service – distributors must evolve by becoming active network managers. However, industry practices are not yet at the stage of having a more holistic approach when it comes to integrating design, implementation and assessment activities. Thus, not all types of stakeholders have the same opportunity to participate in the implementation of positive energy blocks in their districts and cities. +CityxChange is situated in the process of this transition and aims at providing new evidence-based and replicable solutions in the urban environment.
Within the +CityxChange project, the cities of Trondheim, Limerick, Alba Iulia, Písek, Sestao, Smolyan and Võru will experiment how to become leading cities integrating smart positive energy solutions. Through the use of digital services, the quality of life for and together with the citizens shall be improved, more energy produced than consumed, and experiences with cities across Europe exchanged to learn faster together.
The following framework supports achieving our vision:
- Prototype the Future – Integrated Planning and Design
- Enable the Future – Creation of a Common Energy Market
- Accelerate the Future – CommunityxChange
- Decision support tools which enable informed decisions to be made by all stakeholders in the community;
- An approach to creating a Positive Energy Block through energy reduction and efficiency measures, local renewables, local storage, flexibility and peer-to-peer energy trading;
- Top-down community engagement driven by the local authority and bottom-up citizen engagement to inform, educate and drive behavioural change.
The approach has been developed to enable citizens to invest in their own buildings, which ultimately contributes to the creation of the Positive Energy Blocks and provide them with the incentives (social, economic, legal and technical) to do so.
The project is structured to specifically develop value-added solutions that support replication in other EU cities as well as exploitation to commercial markets well beyond the project duration.