Smart cities topic is an emerging research line at LNEG as in the last years the role of buildings and their interaction with urban energy flows has been growing in attention, especially with regard to NZEB buildings, due to the energy generated by the integrated systems in these buildings. Furthermore, the use of renewable energy contributes to “net-zero energy” cities enabling new business models associated with the concept of energy supply and demand “aggregation”, which is the process of linking small groups of industrial, commercial, and residential customers into a larger virtual power unit to make them “visible” from the electric system point of view. An effective management of “aggregators” requires advanced models and distributed control systems, with fine time and spatial resolution due to challenges linked to “intermittency” and “variability” of renewables and also the dynamics of energy consumption (consumer behavior) in urban functions such as mobility or housing.
In order to support the sustainable energy development of cities and their components (buildings, grids and mobility), the scientific activities developed by LNEG include:
- Energy efficiency solutions for interactive NZEB buildings;
- Energy flexibility studies (including strategies for demand flexibility) at the individual level (interactive buildings) and at the community level (cluster of buildings);
- Studies of integration of renewable energies in urban context and in different scales: neighborhoods, communities, cities;
- Studies on Positive Energy Districts (PED) including technological, spatial, regulatory, financial, legal, environmental, social and economic perspectives.
Since 2010, LNEG has been involved in activities related to smart and sustainable cities through its participation in the European Energy Research Alliance on Smart Cities (EERA JPSC), European Sustainable Energy Innovation Alliance (ESEIA).