Granting communities ACCESS to low-carbon smart energy systems

ProjectBuildings & districts

The energy transition will take place in cities. ACCESS empowers cities to coordinate local stakeholders for supporting and investing in the transition of Europe’s energy system.

With support from:

Provincie antwerpen


Europe is moving towards more sustainable, decentral and digital energy grids. Its cities face the daunting task of coordinating the local transition of renewable energy generation and storage while maintaining grid stability.

The North Sea Region is leading the way in the uptake of sustainable energy, moving towards decentralised energy grids. As the region prepares for the transition, new challenges related to governance, finance and technology choices arise.

No single public authority or organisation has the expertise or ability to experiment with the broad range of technologies, governance and financing models needed in the energy transition. Integration between different energy vectors and collaboration across borders and industries is necessary to enable wider flexibility and improved efficiency.

The Interreg NSR-funded ACCESS project helps cities address these shared challenges to developing and upscaling low-carbon solutions. The project connects actors, organisations, and cities together to work towards shared energy ambitions. This will result in a systematic upscaling approach, that delivers sustainable energy strategies and action plans to enable the local energy system transition, transferable to other authorities in the region.

ACCESS is a European project, funded by Interreg North Sea Region. Local authorities Amersfoort, West-Suffolk Councils, Malmö and Mechelen will jointly explore and demonstrate scaled approaches, including local energy community hubs, peer-to-peer energy trading models, and local collaborative planning tools. Support from four knowledge partners (Aarhus University, Johannesberg Science Park, IfM ECS, EnergyVille/VITO) will provide expertise and structure.

Besides their role as coordinator, VITO will improve existing tools to support decision making on urban energy strategies. Based on a deep understanding of energy flows and urban tissue, pathways to a smarter energy systems are explored. Scenarios analyses help to understand the robustness of the proposed solutions. The tools are iteratively developed and demonstrated with the other project partners.

Dorien Aerts
Researcher Smart Energy and Built Environment at EnergyVille/VITO

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