Implementing the “Smart City Vision”
The objective of this project was to develop an integrative project plan for implementing smart grids that combines novel storage concepts for housing areas at a demo site in Villach. The project beneficiaries were proactively integrated through the introduction of a Smart City Energy Club and Energy Practice Communities.
Villach’s “Smart City Vision” has been realised over several phases. First, during the implementation phase, the city wanted to build a smart grid; thus, a major aim of the project was to analyse the existing electrical grid infrastructure to find the best possible setup for a smart grid in the urban area. Central to the technological concept was a grid upgrade, including the rolling out of smart metering and smart transformer devices. This enabled load-flow analysis and grid modelling for designing the grid control system. Moreover, a new research facility was set up, new business and financing concepts were developed, and an online platform was established.
To actively involve end users, a “living lab” approach was applied. Within the LIVING Lab Villach, 700 households took part in the observation project, and 184 interviews were carried out to engage end users and to achieve a better understanding of their energy consumption patterns and habits. Bringing together citizens and experts, LIVING Lab Villach provided an opportunity to exchange technological knowledge and user experiences, facilitating new insights on both sides.
- In future, many stationary storage systems will have to be implemented to relieve greater loads on the grid because of the rising percentage of renewable energy sources, and only a modest network expansion will lead to switching off renewable power producers.
- Environmentally friendly energy behaviour is to a large extent influenced by a person’s age and health awareness.
- The interview results showed that personal motives and values are not the major drivers for energy-friendly behaviour. Living conditions, family context and daily household routines are the most influential factors.
- For changing energy behaviour, social norms and other influencing factors, such as long-term thinking or health awareness, should be addressed.