The iURBAN project is aimed at addressing the recommendations of the Energy-Efficient Buildings Public-Private-Partnership launched in 2008. So, it will integrate ICT infrastructure inside a city that will involve users in energy efficiency activities and create new business models among all the participants (ICT companies, utilities, ESCOs, municipalities, citizens…) in this new energy scenario, where users are able to produce their own energy and cities are deploying more often renewable distribution resources.
So, the iURBAN project is mainly a business and is socially objective-driven. It will pull together breakthrough business models and innovative ICT technologies as pillars to provide commercially viable, robust, scalable, interoperable and integrated smart energy systems solutions for energy management in cities.
A Virtual View over the iUrban Pilot Scenario
The overall technological objectives of the iURBAN project supporting the stated vision are:
- Develop a Smart City database network, capable of accessing the data infrastructure of different end-points in a city, which can obtain real-time data from energy consumption and production in private buildings, offices, commercial facilities and other distributed resources in the low-voltage grid;
- Develop Data Models to forecast short-term energy consumption and production based on Artificial Intelligence technologies;
- Develop a decentralized energy decision support system for central control and a new approach to data analysis and aggregation with a two-level decision support: for Energy Companies and authorized third parties and for citizens, in order to optimize the distribution of energy in cities, prevent or reduce critical peak situations, inform about energy, CO2 and cost reductions, advise users in demand response and involve all the participants in the energy market. All these will be developed without adversely affecting grid stability;
- Develop generic advice in demand response, through alarms to any type of telecom device that can perform almost direct demand control of a large amount of heterogeneous energy-consuming devices in buildings;
- Develop an energy simulation framework that supports “virtual units” such as batteries, EV charging stations and other distribution resources, inside the decision support system, in order to analyze and understand how these virtual units could affect the current energy situation of the city in terms of consumption, production, CO2 emissions, etc;
- Develop an energy market network that supports different energy exchange models at the city level, as opposed to the usual hierarchical approach, and determine which models can optimize local exchange of energy within the low-voltage grid.
- Detailed design of all components and services comprising the iURBAN security, privacy and confidentiality framework.
The overall socio-economic objectives of the iURBAN project supporting the stated vision are to:
- Develop a business model framework based on the concept of dynamic value networks of actors such as energy providers, service providers, information providers, etc. that supports contractual demand control schemes, dynamic multi-tariffs, opportunities for load shifting, load shedding, storage utilization, prioritization of renewable energy, etc;
- Develop business cases that demonstrate to the energy provider the economic attractiveness of Smart Energy Management Systems and the iURBAN infrastructure in terms of shifting and optimizing the load on the grid, aligning the demand with needs and prices, maximizing the use of renewable energy sources, and balancing the electricity load without adversely affecting grid stability;
- Develop business cases that allow consumers to actively engage in their energy supply and demand at the personal as well as at the community level, and enable motivational schemes for energy efficiency, savings and delivery of electricity in the most cost-effective and carbon friendly manner;
- Develop business cases that facilitate “virtual” energy exchange between consumers and producers in the community and thus promote the construction and efficiency of renewable energy sources in the community and to and from the distribution grid;
- Define a methodology for citizen empowerment, engagement of municipalities, energy companies and/or ESCOs and construction parties in participative decision-making in close collaboration with each empowerment initiative, and support and provide guidance in the implementation;
- Promote investment in DER by providing ROI schemes to investors.