A smart city approach is built on the synergies of the most important sectors involved (electricity production, heating and cooling, transport) and aimed at substantially increasing energy efficiency, while simultaneously supplying sustainable energy. Whenever we consider integration and the methods to connect the energy jigsaw, we speak about district energy.
The construction and expansion of smart district energy networks (combining district heating and district cooling, integrating and balancing a large share of variable renewable power, serving as thermal storage) is a crucial prerequisite for the large-scale utilisation of low-carbon and renewable energy at the heart of the city. Such networks must therefore play an important part in the urban energy system and act as key smart city component.
At European level, the European Commission supports the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC), which brings together cities, industry, SMEs, banks, research and other smart city actors.
Moreover, the European Commission prepared the ground for a EU Urban Agenda, aimed at improving the implementation of EU and national policies on-the-ground by involving cities in the design of policies and mobilising them in the implementation. The Urban Agenda is supported by Member States (Riga Declaration, June 2015), the European Parliament (Westphal Report), the Committee of the Regions, the European Economic and Social Committee, and constituted a priority for the 2016 Dutch EU Presidency.
Together with our members, we work together with the various European and international organisations promoting smart and resilient cities, such as EnergyCities (European Association of local authorities in energy transition), ICLEI Europe (Local Governments for Sustainability) and UN Environment Programme.