Prestigious project for the Norwegian energy sector

Norwegian partners have received in excess of 10 million euros from EU’s Horizon2020 programme, to find a smart solution for energy efficient, robust and healthy cities. Recently, the city of Trondheim hosted the prestigious +CityxChange project kick-off. 

The municipality of Trondheim is at the helm of the Smart City project +CityxChange, alongside the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and strong corporate players from across Europe. Recently, around 90 professionals gathered in Trondheim for a kick-off meeting for the project, which all together has been granted 20 million euros. 

“This is a milestone for NTNU and a unique possibility for us to contribute with knowledge for a better world,” says Gunnar Bovim, Rector at NTNU, in his opening speech. “More and more of us live in cities, meaning that it is crucial that we develop them in a sustainable way. In order to succeed, several academic communities need to work together.”

Seven pilot cities from across Europe

+CityxChange is not a research project, but an interdisciplinary cluster of competencies, where innovative solutions from partners will be realised and used in actual urban environments. The demonstrations in Trondheim will be executed in three locations, including the NTNU campus. In addition, six European cities will be involved in the project, where Trondheim and Limerick are lighthouse cities. 

“The project could have very positive effects, not only for the cities involved, but globally. Our foundation is involvement from both public- and private players. It is only when many people get involved and understand the meaning of the smart city concept that we achieve genuine impact,” says Ruth Kerrigan from Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES).

Klaus Livik from Powel ad Ruth Kerrigan from IES
Klaus Livik (Powel) and Ruth Kerrigan (IES) are working together to find good solutions in the Smart City project. Photo: Powel

Kerrigan is from Ireland and will work closely with lighthouse city Limerick. Another player that will be working closely on the demonstration of energy-smart solutions for the cities is Powel. An international supplier of IT solutions for several sectors, including energy trading and grid operations, Powel has its head office in Trondheim. 

“The market in an energy smart city will have similarities with the power market, but with less roles (consumer, producer, system operator, market operator) in a new and automated digitalised interaction,” explains Chief Strategist in Powel, Klaus Livik. “In this exciting, triangular cooperation between NTNU, the municipality of Trondheim, and local businesses, we will innovate and demonstrate this. One guiding principle for the demonstrated concepts is that they are scalable. This means that they should provide knowledge and technology that can be offered to a larger market.” 

Making urban areas energy neutral

In terms of energy, the project aims to explore how interacting energy resources can operate as a local market. Examples of this include how usage of batteries, heat pump, solar energy, consumer flexibility, and eMobility together can create energy neutral urban areas – whilst at the same time ensuring security of supply, and quality in terms of a stable local grid. The EU has realised that we are on the cusp of substantial electrification and a more customer centric electricity supply. Positive Energy Blocks is a new EU term in this development, where the goal is that areas of 25.000 m2, consisting of at least three buildings of various types, will become energy neutral over the course of the year. 

Room full of project participants
Approximately 90 professionals from across Europe participated in the Trondheim kick-off. Photo: Powel

“The road to get there is often long and will demand both new technology, disruptive business models, digitalised information, and operations, as well as interaction between the players, inhabitants, and technology providers. This situation in itself documents the need for the +CityxChange project,” states Livik.  

Substantial business opportunities

NTNU will make a significant contribution to the project. The same is true for power suppliers, equipment providers, developers of technology, and communication experts. 

“We will test new solutions and show the world that this is possible. Our motivation is to decrease consumption and optimise the energy flow. If we are successful in doing this, and if further use of the solutions in the market is facilitated, this will mean great market possibilities both for Powel, ABB and many other players in the energy market,” says Stian Reite, Product Manager for Smart Grid in ABB

The world needs you

The EU wants to facilitate a more efficient power market and, through +CityxChange, they will contribute to promoting new, sustainable solutions for cities, as part of the green shift. This is not only about electricity supply, but also more energy efficient buildings, transport solutions, and urban environments in general. NTNU and Trondheim are proud to participate in this project and are positive that the investment from the EU will yield results. 

“Going forward, I hope you will work hard, because the world needs you,” said NTNU Rector Gunnar Bovim at the end of his Trondheim kick-off opening speech. 

Gunnar Bovim speaking
Inspiring opening speech by NTNU Rector Gunnar Bovim during the November kick-off. "This is a milestone for NTNU and a unique opportunity for us to contribute with knowledge for a better world," he said. Photo: Powel