Setting the course for sustainability

The European Commission’s SET Plan (Strategic Energy Technology Plan) is designed to move urban energy systems towards a more sustainable path. Austria’s Climate and Energy Fund has launched the Smart Energy Demo – FIT for SET funding programme to get Austrian cities and regions fit for participating in the SET Plan. The intention is to combine fully developed technologies, such as photovoltaics, solar thermal energy or combined heat and power generation, with comprehensive sustainability concepts to create integrated systems. AIT provides long-standing, interdisciplinary experience for this ambitious task.


Integrated approach

In practice this involves the interplay between energy aspects and issues such as mobility, housing, water, waste, quality of life etc., all of which need to be actively integrated into sustainable energy concepts. Against this background, Austrian cities and regions have been called upon to formulate their long-term vision for a sustainable energy future to 2050, to prepare an intermediate roadmap with a corresponding list of measures, and finally to develop an action plan for implementing demonstration projects by 2015. This process was carried out by organizing interdisciplinary composed forums in which stakeholders from different areas as city administration, energy supply companies, research and industry were discussing technical and non-technical solutions. Key criteria are the use of new technologies to improve the greenhouse gas balance, optimised energy systems, soft mobility and implementation perspectives for the planned measures. Based on existing planning documents concerning urban development, energy efficiency, climate protection etc. the energy future of a city or region is shaped in an integrative way.


The pioneers

Around half of the participating Austrian cities relied on AIT know-how for their strategy development, the practical implementation of their action plan or the development of demonstration projects. Towns and cities profiting from AIT’s profound expertise in sustainability included Vienna, Salzburg, Linz, Innsbruck, Bregenz, Graz, Amstetten, Wörgl, Villach and Bruck. AIT researchers have developed a customised Decision Support System which helps project partners in each town or city select the most effective measures. Simulation models based on local framework conditions are used to investigate which sustainable technologies need to be expanded and what additional measures must be put in place to achieve the planned CO2 reduction and energy saving target.