This proposal is for the development of a transnational EU project under the Interreg North Sea Region Programme (www.northsearegion.eu) which would bring together public, private and academic organisations to test and develop integrated decentralised community energy systems which can support the shift towards a low-carbon economy.
The project will start from the assumption that partners already have means of renewable energy production, but lack the additional tools to maximise the renewable output and make best use of a diverse range of energy sources.
The partner regions would be expected to work at a sub-regional scale, but beyond the scale of single buildings: this project is about energy systems for a whole community, such as a town or village, industrial centre, a city neighbourhood, an island, or a university campus.
Partners would start by sharing their knowledge of state-of-the-art technologies and approaches for integrated energy systems. A series of study visits and exchange of staff would lead to a greater understanding of the potential applications of integrated energy systems.
A small number (probably 2-3) of demonstration projects would be identified which can showcase how integration of technologies can produce much greater carbon savings. This might include, for example, smart grid systems to maximise use of fluctuating renewable output, or modern forms of energy storage which can be integrated in a supply network. These demonstration projects would be worked on by all partners, using advice and know-how from across the whole partnership. They will be used to showcase what is possible, and form part of an EU-wide dissemination strategy.
Later stages of the project will concentrate on the transferability of the technologies, producing tools and guides which other regions can use to improve their own energy systems.