Due to high density of land use, cities and urban areas are consumers of renewable energy in Germany's energy system. Cities consist of many individual neighbourhood types, which differ in their use for industrial, commercial or residential purposes or represent mixed forms. The neighbourhood types differ with regard to the energy infrastructure, the temporal course of energy use and the required useful energies. Within the neighbourhood types, there are further characteristics (e. g. residential neighbourhoods can consist mainly of old buildings or mainly of new buildings, or they can be mixed-use areas). The different neighbourhoods are connected by network structures. In addition to the energy, supply and disposal networks, these are in particular the mobility networks and the communication networks. The technical potential for increasing the efficiency as well as the flexibility of urban neighbourhoods has been proven by numerous research results. This applies both to energy systems in the industrial quarter as well as to residential and commercial quarters. Furthermore, technologies already exist today that enable sector coupling in a changed application context in the energy system city to save CO2 emissions.
The Darmstadt Energy Laboratory for Technologies in Application (DELTA) represents a showcase for the urban energy transition through interacting energy-optimized districts. In the Living Lab DELTA, it is to be demonstrated that the technically proven potential for increasing energy efficiency and flexibility in urban districts can be implemented economically and is also accepted by society. To achieve this, methods are to be tested and further developed in order to bring successful technical pilot projects into broad application. Elementary for this is the development of innovative (cooperative) business models in order to be able to operate the emerging energy system without subsidies on the one hand and to allow all stakeholders of the energy system to participate in the energetic and economic potentials.
Within the project, a multi-layered, cross-sectoral approach is pursued. The focus is on the consistent increase in energy efficiency in all sectors, which is already seen as the greatest usable potential for the overall energy system transformation. Furthermore, potentials for shifting electrical loads over time are to be identified and used to optimise the urban electricity system and to make optimum use of renewable energy sources. Both will be achieved through intelligent linking of individual elements (districts) of the urban energy system and through sector coupling. The involvement of all relevant stakeholders is planned for this purpose, who will develop feasible solutions in proven dialogue formats.
The living lab DELTA is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) and supervised by the Project Management Organisation Jülich (PtJ). We thank for the opportunity to work on this project.
Associated partners/R&D subcontracts