RENergetic: IT solution for energy transition from below

Residential areas in Ghent, Belgium, a university campus in Poznan, Poland, and a hospital in Milan, Italy: the EU project Renergetic is testing how citizen energy can succeed at these three locations. The University of Passau contributes expertise on the topic of artificial intelligence and sustainability.

With the “Clean Energy Package”, the European Union is reaching out to its citizens. These are to generate the required energy themselves from renewable sources in small, self-sufficient energy communities. The EU project “RENergetic – Community-empowered Sustainable Multi-Vector Energy Islands” is testing how this can be achieved at three different European locations with very different requirements:

– In the old port area of the Belgian city of Ghent, a new, urban and energy-autonomous urban district is being created with the participation of the citizens.
– On the technology campus in Poznan, Poland, researchers are testing how the waste heat from a server center can be used for heating.
– For the University Hospital in Segrate-Milan, the research team is developing a concept for smart energy management that includes not only the buildings but also the charging infrastructure for the vehicles needed.

The IT solution for all locations is coordinated by Passau: A team from the University of Passau led by Prof. Dr. Ing. Hermann de Meer, holder of the Chair of Computer Science with a focus on computer networks and computer communication, is responsible for the development of suitable IT systems in the EU project. The Passau researchers can draw on findings and tools they have developed in other projects, including the method of smart charging for e-cars.

Participation of citizens

“The aim of the RENergetic project is to improve efficiency and energy self-sufficiency with the involvement of local communities and to demonstrate the socio-economic feasibility of such energy islands,” explains Prof. Dr. Ing. de sea. At all three locations, the focus is on how the interaction of heat supply and electricity can be made as sustainable as possible. The project also relies on the active participation of the citizens: they should be given the opportunity to increasingly control and shape their energy infrastructure themselves.

The Spanish IT services group GFI Informática is coordinating the project. In addition to the German universities of Passau and Mannheim, Ghent University in Belgium, the University of Technology in Poznan, Poland, and the University of Pavia in Italy are also involved in the research network. It is an interdisciplinary network: the Europe-wide consortium includes researchers from the fields of computer science, psychology and law. In addition, private sector partners from the energy sector complete the profile of the consortium.

The project receives funding from the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 (grant agreement no. 957845). 800,000 euros of this amount will go to the University of Passau.