European cities are experiencing rapid growth, resulting in strained energy grids and carbon-intensive energy systems. With climate change-fueled energy consumption targets, coupled with energy shortages and rising levels of energy poverty, the present European energy situation requires innovation and implementation of energy efficiency mechanisms, as well as a system-wide shift to renewable energy sources (RES).
In response to these global trends, different Horizon 2020 projects have been exploring solutions to facilitation of just transitions. Through the +CityxChange project, the European Lighthouse City of Trondheim has established two Positive Energy Blocks (PEBs): Brattøra and Sluppen. PEBs are defined as a group of buildings in which the annual building energy consumption is lower than the local energy generation. They are not about single innovations, but rather about a system of innovation. The PEBs are scalable, meaning that they can be expanded to the district level and beyond, and they promote flexible, local energy systems.
The Trondheim PEBs are comprised of a variety of building uses and types, including office buildings, small industries and wholesales, a health care center, restaurant and leisure/cultural spaces, and apartments. These PEBs constitute a complex mix of interventions, including the following main ingredients:
- Extensive feed-in of renewable energy from rooftop PV, heat pumps, and waste heat recovery
- Energy efficiency measures, focusing on measures with a high benefit/cost ratio and short payback times
- Utilization of local, end-user electric flexibility through the establishment of local flexibility markets in the PEBs with open trade at high time resolution, based on innovative trading and energy market solutions
- Couple electric & thermal sectors with efficient coordination of both types of resources (sector-coupling)
At this stage, the two PEBs are active and generating energy. Brattøra recently recorded a positive dPEB balance of 230,857 kWh/yr (10 % of the PEB BRattøra total energy demand) and Sluppen 224,880 kWh/yr (5.2 % of the PEB Sluppen total energy demand). A lot of progress is still needed, but improvements are ongoing in an iterative process. Importantly, the work done in Trondheim has generated a number of crucial lessons in PEB building, and has made it clear that the process cannot be achieved without involving numerous stakeholder groups.
As seen in the Figure below, the Trondheim system architecture can be simplified into four stages: 1) Key Enablers, 2) Installation & Configuration, 3) Smart Control of Assets, and 4) Deployment of +CxC dPEB. While the process in practice is not so straightforward, these stages outline the basic requirements for building a successful and scalable dPEB.
So what (and who) enabled Trondheim’s success?
- Single Management Platform: In order to manage and operate such complex, local energy ecosystems, all buildings and energy assets (resources and consumers) need to be integrated into one single management platform (distributed energy resource management system). In Trondheim, this platform is provided by ABB (ABB Optimax ®).
- Building owners and real-estate companies at the core: To establish PEBs, it is imperative to have building owners and real-estate companies on board. In the Trondheim projects, we work with R Kjeldsberg, a real-estate company and official project partner, as well as associated partner Entra.
- Energy trading platform (ETP) & local flexibility market (LFM) developers and owners: The project would not be possible without a highly innovative energy trading platform and solutions, developed by Volue. Market solutions for local energy and flexibility markets were developed and implemented for the local flexibility markets by ANEO (formerly Trønderenergi).
The final report from the Trondheim projects – D5.11, Trondheim dPEB Demonstration – describes the process of planning, set-up, and implementation of the PEBs, including a comprehensive guideline that outlines the main steps for establishing a scalable PEB. Curious and want to know more? Visit our knowledge base for a more detailed overview of everything Trondheim and our other cities have been up to!