Mayors of Turku and Dijon Lead the Charge: Translating the EU Green Deal into Local Action

The mayors of RESPONSE’s Lighthouse cities, Turku and Dijon, attended the ‘Translating the EU Green Deal into Local Action’ conference on March 15.
 

The Flanders government and the Belgian EU presidency organized this crucial discussion, aiming to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent. Like other EU Mayors, François Rebsamen and Minna Arve emphasize the importance of embedding the local level in the heart of the Green Deal, as it has the power to mobilize citizens.

Learn more about the  Declaration by European and Regional leaders, signed by 550 Mayors and Regional leaders from across Europe, which was presented to Alexander de Croo, Belgian Prime Minister, on March 15.

 

The European Green Deal

Climate change and environmental degradation pose an existential threat to Europe and the world. To address these challenges, the European Green Deal will transform the EU into a modern, resource-efficient, and competitive economy, ensuring:

  • No net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050
  • Economic growth decoupled from resource use
  • No person and no place is left behind

The European Commission has adopted a set of proposals to make the EU’s climate, energy, transport, and taxation policies fit for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. More information on Delivering the European Green Deal.

The Solution for the First Social Hackathon is Now Ready

Solutions from residents to residents – RESPONSE hackathon solution reduces CO2 emissions and saves moneyby scheduling the use of household appliances


Electricity prices and energy savings have been on the minds of many people during the past years in Finland and all over Europe, but did you know that by shifting your electricity consumption you can save both the environment and money? If you’ve been wondering how much carbon dioxide emissions are caused by using electricity to run your washing machine, or how much it actually costs to heat up your sauna, it’s now easy to find out with Every day demand response calculator.

The Everyday Demand Response Calculator is a web-based application that allows you to easily check when to use different household appliances to minimise the emissions and electricity costs of your electricity use. The app provides the user with information on the cost of electricity use and the amount of CO2 emissions from the appliance, as well as a visual representation of the optimal time to use the appliance, when it will produce the lowest emissions (gCO2) and the lowest electricity bill increase for electricity customers (€).

Solutions from residents to residents

The concept of the Everyday Demand Response Calculator was developed by Enutime Oy who won the “Energy Made Easy for People” hackathon in April 2023, organised as part of the RESPONSE project. The  competition, organised by the City of Turku and Turku University of Applied Sciences, aimed to find new innovative digital solutions that would encourage people to pay attention to their own energy consumption and change their consumption habits.


The Everyday Demand Response Calculator can be found at www.joustolaskuri.fi.

Everyday Demand Response Calculator 

RESPONSE Consortium meeting in Zaragoza

This event brings together around 50 partners to discuss the final stage of RESPONSE’s project.

It’s a productive start to the last week of May for the RESPONSE partners. Zaragoza hosts the RESPONSE consortium meeting and has prepared a 2-day program filled with workshops and discussions.

The meeting will commence with welcome speeches by Miguel Angel García Muro, Deputy of Digital Transformation of Zaragoza City (Area of Economy, Digital Transformation, and Transparency), and David Rodríguez, Head of the Funding and Transfer Unit at CIRCE. Following the opening remarks, the day will continue with committee meetings and workshops.

About the RESPONSE Project

The EU-funded RESPONSE project will support two Lighthouse Cities and six Fellow Cities across Europe in delivering positive energy blocks and districts. Specifically, it will aim to achieve a local renewable energy systems penetration of 11.2 GWh/y, energy savings of 3,090 MWh/y, and an emission reduction of 9,799 tons CO2 eq/y within the districts of the two Lighthouse Cities. The focus is heating and cooling systems, optimizing energy flows with novel storage systems, and linking with existing applications and other digital infrastructure.

Keep in touch! We will be sharing the key insights of the event later this week.

ICT Scalability and Replicability Analysis for Smart Grids: Methodology and Application

The paper describes the quantitative ICT SRA methodology for the Replicability and Scalability of the demonstrated TAs on a European level and applies it, using the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) toolkit, to the scenarios defined in RESPONSE’s Grant Agreement.

The paper, developed by Comillas, a partner of the RESPONSE project, focuses on the replicability and scalability of technology applications in the European context, specifically in smart grid systems. Published in the Energies journal, the paper emphasizes the importance of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in modern electricity grids. It introduces a new methodology for quantitatively evaluating ICT scalability and replicability in smart grid systems. This methodology is demonstrated using two real case studies from the RESPONSE project, showcasing solutions that rely on diverse communication technologies. The results are presented through ICT scalability and replicability maps, offering a quick and efficient way to assess the feasibility of different scenarios not covered in the analysis.

Publication available in Energies journal: https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/17/3/574

A smart grid is a digitally enhanced electricity grid that utilizes Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) to monitor and control devices, enhancing grid Quality of Service (QoS) and performance. This involves remote and efficient management of real-time events, measurements, and failures. The importance of ICT in smart grids necessitates consideration of power system and interoperability requirements. The Smart Grid Architecture Model (SGAM) was developed to identify standardization gaps, displaying stakeholders, management levels, and interoperability layers. The rapid digitization of electricity grids requires recognition of standardization gaps, scalability, and replicability. Scalability and Replicability Analysis (SRA) identifies potential impediments and limitations, ensuring solutions are not just one-off demonstrations. The article proposes a methodological basis for quantitative ICT SRAs, introducing the concept of an ICT SRA map to summarize results and determine the potential scalability and replicability of smart grid ICT systems. This ensures each implementation benefits from previous studies, avoiding unnecessary duplication of effort.

The paper presents a methodology for quantitatively analyzing the scalability and replicability of ICT systems in smart grid solutions. This methodology, validated through two real case studies from the EU-funded RESPONSE project, offers the following contributions:

  1. A standalone step-by-step methodology that utilizes the Smart Grid Architecture Model (SGAM) to identify critical system components and establish a clear relationship between requirements and performance indicators. This methodology covers a gap in guidelines for conducting quantitative Scalability and Replicability Analysis (SRA) focused on smart grid ICT solutions.
  2. Introduction of ICT scalability and replicability maps as the outcome of ICT SRAs, allowing for a quick overview of system scalability and replicability in different scenarios, and facilitating estimation of feasibility for non-analyzed scenarios.
  3. Validation and application of the proposed methodology to two real case studies involving different technologies and smart grid use cases. The methodology is applied step by step in both cases, demonstrating the usefulness of ICT SRA maps.

The paper introduces a methodology for quantitatively performing an ICT Scalability and Replicability Analysis (SRA) in the context of smart grids. This approach utilizes the Smart Grid Architecture Model (SGAM) to characterize the system and define the scope of analysis. The methodology is applied to two case studies from the EU-funded RESPONSE project: Case Study A evaluates a Modbus TCP control and monitoring system for DER, while Case Study B assesses a wireless M-Bus system for smart metering and sensing. The results of both case studies are summarized through ICT Scalability and Replicability Maps, providing a quick overview of system scalability and replicability. The methodology effectively identifies critical links impacting scalability and replicability, irrespective of ICT type. Future research could validate and expand this methodology, potentially incorporating dynamic scalability analysis and numeric indicators for comparison of different ICT alternatives. Additionally, qualitative evaluations of aspects such as interoperability and standardization could complement the methodology.

The EU City Calculator: a new tool guides European cities by simulating climate transition paths

EUCityCalc has officially launched its free, open-source online platform that allows local councils and other stakeholders to visualise and simulate low-carbon scenarios for their towns and cities, as well as to assess the trade-offs related to available choices.

Although the European Green Deal and the European Union’s other climate policy tools aim to achieve netzero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the EU by 2050, only a handful of European cities have been able to translate these commitments into precise and tangible transition plans. One reason for this is that city councils often lack the technology and knowledge to develop and assess these plans. This makes it vital that these cities are equipped with tools, information, and skills that empower them to make those targets a reality.

“We believe that cities are frontrunners in the challenge of achieving climate neutrality. Cities are the heart of EUCityCalc, with its ambition of inspiring transformative solutions and strengthening links among, within and beyond territories” – Bénédicte Weber, Project Manager, Energy Cities.


Climate roadmaps
The EUCityCalc project, which is funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 program, brings together 10 pilot cities in different stages of their climate neutrality transition to empower them to devise locally owned and inclusive transition roadmaps. To help them chart this path, these local authorities have now gained access to the powerful new European City Calculator.


The tool was developed to empower cities around Europe to develop scientifically and actionable policy scenarios and transition pathways, not only in line with the 2050 EU targets but also underpinned by a cross-sectoral and territorial approach to decarbonisation.


The online platform allows local councils and other stakeholders to integrate their SECAP data as well as some key socio-demographic trends. The model underlying EUCityCalc completes the missing data (energy, emissions, activity data) thanks to a rich database at the level of each European country. The web tool provides public officials with critical insight and foresight into the implications and ramifications of
various policy choices and investments at their disposal.


The European City Calculator provides cities with an overview of the different types of measures and their effects on emission reductions and indications of costs. Cities can build their own climate and energy scenarios, discover their impacts, and compare them with their climate and energy targets. The web tool is ultimately designed to make the decision-making and implementation of their climate and energy strategies easier for European cities.


“A town can use the European City Calculator to simulate various measures, such as public transport initiatives and low emission zones. This approach enables the town to effectively identify and assess the best strategies for reducing urban emissions.” – Vincent Matton, Energy and Climate Change Consultant, Climact.


Starting on 26 February 2024, cities will have the chance to enroll in the EUCityCalc learning program to discover how to gather data and use the tool, organise and run co-creation workshops involving different stakeholders, as well as to understand the crucial role that local authorities can actively play in the national policy process.


About the EUCityCalc project: This EU Horizon project (2021-2024) aims to support cities in developing and implementing scientifically robust, detailed, and integrated transition pathways toward climate neutrality. These pathways will serve to design other policy scenarios and transition roadmaps, such as the revision of the Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan in the framework of the Covenant of Mayors. Throughout this project, its 10 pilot cities – Riga, Dijon Métropole, Mantova, Zdar, Palmela, Sesimbra, Setubal, Koprivnica, Varazdin, Virovitica – are running a key stakeholders engagement process on their territories, targeted to key stakeholders in local working groups, as well as multi-stakeholder dialogues for a broader stakeholder community and the public. The project has also created a free, open-source, and easy-to-use web tool for model exploration that provides cities with a cross-sectoral outlook based on a rich database customised using SECAP data integrated by
cities.

Finnish Lighthouse City network gathered in Turku

A meeting for Finnish cities participating in Smart Cities and Communities projects in Turku promoted the exchange of implementation, discussed the replication of Smart City solutions, and explored the concept of Nordic PEDs.

The Finnish Lighthouse City – network gathers lighthouse and fellow cities of Smart City projects in Turku on 9-10 of January. During the meeting, the collaborative network allows cities to exchange experiences and share knowledge, thus improving and enhancing the success of each initiative involved. Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe funding programs, the group meets a few times a year to discuss ongoing work and relevant topics.

The themes of the January meeting in Turku were replication, monitoring, and communication of project results. In addition, participants discussed the concept of a “Nordic PED”, as many of the participating projects are implementing a PED in their city. Establishing a PED in the Nordics can be challenging as sunlight decreases drastically during winter. The importance of innovative solutions connected to district heating and cooling, energy storage, and smart energy management systems are highlighted in these conditions.

Although there are differences between the Smart City projects, the Finnish Lighthouse City – network allows cities operating within the same legislative framework, faced with similar challenges and opportunities, to connect and foster mutual support. Ultimately, this advances development and strengthens the overall success of all the projects involved.

Visiting cities were provided a tour of the PED at Turku Student Village to learn more about the technological solutions implemented and tested in the RESPONSE project. The 5th block, which underwent energy efficient retrofitting is pictured in the background.

Developing user interface for energy management system in Turku Technical Hackathon

TUAS, VTT, and the city of Turku collaborated to select an Energy Monitoring Dashboard for optimizing energy management within the PED.

Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS) hosted a Technical Hackathon to design a user interface for the energy management system developed under the RESPONSE project. Commencing in September, participating teams ideated and refined their concepts. Two teams were chosen to develop their ideas further in the hackathon.

The dynamic teams invested their time and expertise in crafting innovative solutions focusing on the Energy Management System (EMS) user interface tailored for optimizing energy management at the Tyyssija building within the PED. On December 12th they presented the Front-end beta versions of their solutions to the jury that consisted of professionals from RESPONSE project partner organizations, TUAS, VTT, and the city of Turku. 

In the culmination of this event, both teams proudly unveiled their Front-end beta versions, providing a glimpse into a future defined by heightened energy efficiency and sustainability. The jury faced an exciting and challenging evaluation process due to the exceptional quality and depth of the proposals. Each team showcased remarkable skills and groundbreaking thinking.

After thorough deliberation, the jury declared the Energy Monitoring Dashboard by Tuomas Rinne, Matias Kumpalainen, and Juhana Kuparinen as the winning entry. The second prize was awarded to Wattson Energy Management Assistant by Florian Dejonckheere, Joni Rajamäki, and Otto Heldt.

Both teams expressed outstanding performance and dedication. The jury was impressed by the team’s creativity and technical expertise throughout the competition. The winning team will continue developing the user interface further and make it operational during the RESPONSE project.

This hackathon was a collaborative effort involving the City of Turku and VTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland).

Participants at the Turku Technical Hackathon.

Hackathon #2 in Dijon: Hack2Horizon2023, 48 hours of innovation for the resilient, low-carbon city

Student-led innovations at HacktoHorizon2023 and Dijon celebrate a successful festival of the ecological and digital transition.

On the weekend of 17 November, as part of the Festival of Ecological and Digital Transition, more than 50 students from schools in the Dijon metropolitan area had the opportunity to take part in #HacktoHorizon2023 at ESIREM – Ecole Supérieure d’Ingénieurs Numérique et Matériaux.

Two days to develop innovations to achieve the energy transition objectives and the transformation of the smart, low-carbon city of the RESPONSE project.

The projects that received the highest evaluations and won the prizes were:

  • Grand Prize RESPONSE for participants in the Carbon Scale challenge: “Development of a tool to help assess and reduce carbon impact”
  • Innovation Prize for participants in the Dijon Métropole challenge: “Application for simulating a positive-energy district (example of the Fontaine d’Ouche district)”
  • Jury’s Favourite Award for participants in the Dièze challenge: “Considering the characteristics of the student population on the Dijon metropolitan campus, how can we encourage them to sort their waste?”
Participants at the Hackathon #2 in Dijon.
Participants at the Hackathon #2 in Dijon.
Participants at the Hackathon #2 in Dijon.

Busy Autumn in Turku Positive Energy District (PED)

The RESPONSE project has kept the Turku PED residents busy this Autumn, as three workshops have been arranged to raise awareness and disseminate RESPONSE solutions.

Students have had a core role in organizing the events, which has ensured that the events are appealing to the Turku PED residents in Student Village, offering a possibility to participate in the creation of digital tools.

The environmental workshop gathered people to test energy consumption in one’s everyday life

The Environmental workshop was held on the 16th of November featuring energy in everyday life. The objective of the RESPONSE Environmental workshop is to raise the residents’ awareness and interest in energy topics. The participants strolled around the many different stands with activities varying from playing Nintendo Switch and measuring the energy consumption of the console compared to how many calories you spent while playing, a Kahoot quiz on energy consumption, guessing how much energy different appliances consume to solar powered toy cars that demonstrated how solar energy and batteries work. The RESPONSE mentors also participated in the event to discuss with the PED residents.

Although all stands were interesting to the participants, the stand where you could see how much energy different energy appliances consume seemed to be the most popular one. One could measure the energy consumption of different lightbulbs, an air conditioner, Christmas lights, a massaging pillow, and other appliances. There was a Kahoot quiz on energy consumption, which was a lot of fun for people who took part in it as they had funny moments seeing the correct answers to the questions.

Overall, there were a lot of different conversations and realizations about energy consumption, and the event had a nice variety of people – including young kids who liked to play with solar-powered cars and the Nintendo Switch console. A joyful atmosphere is a good way to describe the event.

Students facilitated Avatar workshops in Turku

As a part of the RESPONSE project, digital tools are being created to help the residents understand the technical solutions that have been implemented in the apartments and buildings. This concerns especially the retrofitted 5th block apartments. This was the third workshop Turku University of Applied Sciences organized as a part of a series where digital tools are developed.

The workshop’s key focus was twofold: firstly to showcase the technical improvements made to the area due to the RESPONSE project, and secondly to gather feedback by encouraging the residents to share their thoughts and experiences about the project. This was achieved by hosting two workshops in November for the residents of the PED area. These workshops included VR tours of the PED area comprised of 360-degree images captured using both a drone and a mounted camera, discussions, and feedback gathering with the residents and enjoying food and refreshments.

Career Forum in Fontaine d’Ouche, Dijon

Discovering the careers of tomorrow, on the road to transition. The initiative brings students to learn about climatic questions, sustainable and smart cities, and future professions.

As part of the 2023 Ecological and Digital Transition Festival, the Your Future Job careers forum was in full swing from 13 to 15 November 2023. Taking the example of RESPONSE as the first chapter of the energy transition in European cities, more than 800 secondary school students and job seekers from Côte-d’Or registered to take part in the many workshops organized in Fontaine d’Ouche.

Immersive, fun experiences were on offer to raise awareness among as many people as possible of the professions that will shape our future. Local schools and businesses provided specific workshops for raising awareness about the upcoming need for skills in Dijon and Europe.

According to ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management Agency), between now and 2050, over 900,000 jobs will be created in sectors such as construction, transport, industry, and energy, all closely linked to the ecological transition. This is the major challenge that Dijon, one of RESPONSE’s Lighthouse cities, is committed to meeting.

Presenters at the Career Forum in Fontaine d’Ouche, Dijon.
Participantes at the Career Forum in Fontaine d’Ouche, Dijon.
Participantes at the Career Forum in Fontaine d’Ouche, Dijon.