Revolutionizing Energy Transition: The PEDvolution Project

Imagine a future where neighborhoods can produce more energy than they consume, and adapt to changing conditions in a flexible and resilient way. This is the vision of Positive Energy Districts (PEDs), which are transforming the way we think about energy transition in cities. But how can PEDs cope with the complex and dynamic challenges of their environment?

This is the question that the Horizon Europe project PEDvolution aims to answer, by developing and testing innovative tools and solutions for the design, planning, and operation of ever-evolving PEDs.

“The PEDvolution project understands the living nature of PEDs and will support their ongoing evolution, enhancing their resilience through the development of seven interoperable innovative tools and solutions,” explains Elena Calzado, International Project Manager at Smart Innovation Norway.

The Norwegian research and innovation company is one of 15 partners in the project, which was kicked off in January 2024 and will last for three years.

Groundbreaking initiative

Background: Positive Energy Districts (PEDs) represent the epitome of community-driven energy transition. These innovative districts enhance energy efficiency, seamlessly integrate local renewables and excess heat, and foster dynamic interactions across energy and non-energy sectors like mobility, ICT, and industry.

The challenge: A critical and often overlooked challenge is the constant evolution of PEDs. This evolution is driven by dynamic changes in their environment, including shifts in social contexts, legislation, energy markets, and the proliferation of electric vehicles. The analogy with the theory of evolution is striking—while the DNA between PEDs varies, their implementation and evolution are not left to chance. Instead, the environment dictates the probability of success in the energy transition.

PEDvolution objectives: The project undertakes agroundbreaking initiative that sets out to pioneer the cross-sectoral integration of ever-evolving PEDs. Over a span of three years, PEDvolution analyze, co-develop, and demonstrate seven interoperable tools/solutions designed to accommodate the constant evolution of PEDs:

  1. PED Design and Planning Toolset
  2. PED Readiness Assessment
  3. Dynamic Decision Support Guideline for PED Development
  4. PED Energy Manager
  5. Data Exchange, Integration, and Interoperability Platform
  6. PED Business Models
  7. Social Innovation Tool
All project partners met at the Athens meeting in February.

These PEDvolution solutions will not only evaluate but also enhance the ‘PED Readiness Level’ based on the four genes of the PED genotype: social, technology, interoperability, and market. These factors are influenced by interactions within the PED and its environment, shaping its phenotype.

At least six real-life PEDs (3 demos+3 replicators) across Europe will serve as demonstration and validation environments for the solutions.

Smart Innovation Norway’s role in the project

Smart Innovation Norway will lead a work package on the business and social innovation tools, as well as contribute to other tasks in various technical work packages.

In the end of February, Smart Innovation Norway researchers Dr. Alemu Moges Belay, Section Head Energy Systems, Minna Kuivalainen, Behavioural Scientist Social Innovation, and Elena Calzado, International Project Manager, participated in a fruitful face-to-face meeting in Athens.

Smart Innovation Norway’s researchers participated in important discussions at the meeting.

“This is an exciting positive energy district (PED) project where we will develop various interoperable tools covering technology, business and social innovation. Our meeting in Athens was important to know more about the details of our demo PEDs and meet all tool developers,” comments Dr. Belay.

Project partners

The project boasts a collaborative effort from esteemed partners, including:

  • Inlecom Innovation Astiki Mi Kerdoskopiki Etaireia (Project and Technical Coordinator)
  • Vlaamse Instelling Voor Technologisch Onderzoek
  • Norges Teknisk-Naturvitenskapelige Universitet (NTNU)
  • Zurcher Hochschule Fur Angewandte Wissenschaft
  • Sympraxis Team P.C.
  • Renn Solutions D.O.O.
  • Sww Wunsiedel Gmbh
  • Zukunftsenergie Nordostbayern Gmbh
  • Es-Geht!-Energiesysteme Gmbh
  • Technische Universitaet Wien
  • Intracom Sa Telecom Solutions
  • Elektro Gorenjska Podjetje Za Distribucijo Elektricne Energije Dd
  • Gorenjske Elektrarne Proizvodnja Elektrike D.O.O
  • Stadt Winterthur
  • Smart Innovation Norway

Together, these partners are poised to redefine the future of energy transition, ushering in an era of sustainability and innovation.

For media inquiries and further information about the PEDvolution project, please contact:

Alemu Moges Belay

Section Head Energy Systems, Smart Innovation Norway

Phone: +47 970 30 354