About Annex 83

Annex 83 on Positive Energy Districts has started its preparation phase in November of 2019. The basic principle of Positive Energy Districts (PEDs) is to create an area within the city boundaries, capable of generating more energy than consumed and agile/flexible enough to respond to the variation of the energy market because a PED should not only aim to achieving an annual surplus of net energy. PED should also support minimizing the impact on the connected centralized energy networks by offering options for increasing onsite load-matching and self-consumption, technologies for short- and long-term storages, and providing energy flexibility with smart control. PEDs can include all types of buildings present in the city environment and they are not isolated from the energy grid. In the research community, PED is a rising concept to shape cities into carbon neutral communities in the near future. Reaching the goal of a PED requires firstly improving energy efficiency, secondly cascading local energy flows by making use of any surpluses, and thirdly using low-carbon energy production to cover the remaining energy consumption. Smart control and energy flexibility are needed to match demand with production locally as far as practical, and also to minimize the burdens and maximize the usefulness of PED on the grid at large.

Urban energy infrastructure transition towards carbon neutral communities has an intrinsic multisector dimension. It embraces a synchronized and parallel development of instrumental technologies, public perceptions of building energy technologies, new economic paradigm and tailored business models. Cities can play a unique role as a host, facilitator and incubator of new technologies and solutions. This is needed to co-create all-inclusive packages of citizen-centric carbon-free energy solutions.

The 2015 Paris Agreement has put more emphasis on international efforts to reduce CO2 emissions, where urban areas with a 70% share of global emissions have a key role. Accordingly, the UN Sustainable Development Goals include sustainable cities and communities with the aim of supporting the transition towards low-carbon cities. Moreover, the European Commission (EC) has proposed generic regulatory conditions to support the implementation of PEDs into a real urban concept by 2050. The international research community has a central role in this domain and in defining the next research streams for developing PEDs and supporting the decision-making process with accurate information, especially when there can be conflicting policy goals.

This Annex will build on the existing results of the following Annexes and will be coordinated with the ongoing ones within the framework of the Buildings and Communities Programme (EBC):

  • Annex 51 Energy Efficient Communities regarding planning tools and methods, case studies of energy efficient communities, decision making strategies and processes and policy development.
  • Annex 60 New Generation Computational Tools for Building & Community Energy Systems regarding the application and development of computational tools for the design of district energy systems.
  • Annex 63 Implementation of Energy Strategies in Communities regarding the operationalization of strategic district level planning and related organizational, legal, social and policy issues.
  • Annex 64 LowEx Communities regarding developing, designing, modelling and implementing low exergy heating and cooling solutions on a district level.
  • Annex 67 Energy Flexible Buildings regarding modelling and designing buildings to work as parts of a district-level energy solution in a smart way and methods for analysing and planning load matching, self-consumption, peak shaving etc.
  • Annex 73: Towards Net Zero Energy Public Communities regarding lessons and best practices that can be learned from communities of public buildings such as campuses and military bases.
  • Annex 75 Cost-effective Building Renovation at District Level Combining Energy Efficiency & Renewables regarding the possibilities of moving existing districts closer to the PED level.

Additionally, the Annex will seek to benefit from research results and collaboration with other IEA Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCP). Other relevant international cooperation activities already ongoing include the following:

  • EU Strategic Energy Technology Plan process
  • European Energy Research Alliance EERA
  • COST Action Positive Energy Districts European Network (PED-EU-NET)
  • EIP-SCC Marketplace (Marketplace of the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities)
  • EU Smart Cities Information System (SCIS)
  • JPI Urban Europe (Joint Programming Initiative)
  • Relevant EU ProfessionalEU associations
  • BRIDGE/Horizon 2020

The proposed Annex aims to enhance the cooperation on PED development to an international level through the collaboration initiatives of the IEA. The main objectives and scope are defined by the following:

Objective 1. Map the relevant city, industry, research, and governmental (local, regional, national) stakeholders and their needs and roles to inform the work for Objectives 2, 3, 4 and 5. The main purpose is to ensure the involvement of the main stakeholders in the development of relevant definitions and recommendations.

Objective 2. Create a shared in-depth framework for the PED concept based on evidence in research and practice. So far international activities have developed generalized definitions that leave many questions open.

Objective 3. Develop the needed information and guidance for implementing the necessary technical solutions (on building, district and infrastructure levels) that can be replicated and gradually scaled up to the city level, giving emphasis to the interaction of flexible assets at the district level and also economic and social issues such as acceptability.

Objective 4. Explore novel technical and service opportunities related to monitoring solutions, big data, data management, smart control and digitalisation technologies as enablers of PEDs.

Objective 5. Develop the needed information and guidance for the planning and implementation of PED’s including both technical planning and urban planning. This includes economic, social and environmental impact assessment for various alternative development paths.

To accomplish the objectives of the Annex, the participants will carry out research and development in the following four subtasks (A, B, C and D) that are further divided into activities.

  • Subtask A: Framework for definitions and context
  • Subtask B: Methods, Tools and Technologies for Realizing Positive Energy Districts
  • Subtask C: Organizing principles and impact assessment
  • Subtask D: Demos, implementation and dissemination

For more details about work within subtask visit Subtasks page.

Annex Info & Contact

Status: Ongoing (2020 - 2025)

Operating Agents

Francesco Guarino
Assistant Professor
University of Palermo - Department of Engineering
Tel: +3909123861926

Dr. Francesco Reda
Principal Scientist, Smart cities and intelligent buildings
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd.
Tel: +358 40 8403680