Five European cities – Alba Iulia (RO), Pisek (CZ), Voru (EE), Sestao (ES) and Smolyan (BG) – are follower cities in the Lighthouse project “Positive City Exchange”. The project aims to deliver positive energy blocks (PEB) through integrating smart positive energy solutions and digital energy services. The Energy Agency of Plovdiv (EAP) is leading the follower cities in their endeavours as smart and innovative communities by providing them with technical and expert consultations on the best energy efficiency and renewable solutions to implement. This will allow them form a ‘positive energy block’, i.e. an area of the city where more energy is produced than consumed.
Within the consultancy process, EAP cooperates closely with each city and discusses all possible options so they can make an informed decision on which demonstrations could be applied, knowing the full implications and enabling maximum impact. During these consultations, EAP promotes promising concepts such as NZEB, AI-based energy management, biodynamic lighting, smart e-charging, etc. that will be set-up as flagships for future positive energy districts with the aim to boost the low-carbon development of local communities towards their 2050 goals.
EAP has developed a PEB algorithm to review, design, implement and monitor smart city interventions to make sure they are integrated reliably with the existing buildings and urban facilities. Based on the algorithm, EAP and its European partners produce a feasibility study for each city, taking into account the existing technical documentation for energy performance, the energy and mobility infrastructure, primary energy end use, potential for energy reduction and energy generation; trading schemes and innovative regulatory schemes are also taken into consideration. EAP supports the city of Smolyan in designing a PEB that will showcase the potential for energy production for self-consumption and prosuming.
The PEB area consists of municipal sports and educational buildings that have already implemented energy efficiency and renewable energy measures and have high readiness to accommodate additional advanced energy technologies and solutions. Some of the buildings have solar thermal energy production and also permits for PV deployment. Therefore, the major task will consist in increasing self-sufficient energy production and bring it to prosuming level, not only covering demands for electricity and hot water of the PEB buildings, but also allowing to export energy to the surrounding buildings.
The urban energy transition requires sensible planning and distribution of energy resources. The establishment of PEBs across the European cities represents an effective way to inspire citizens and authorities towards innovation. By promoting smart edge energy technologies, EAP is positioning them as a strategic solution to guarantee the sustainable, low-carbon, and resilient development of local communities and increase the quality of life.