Project Description

Austria’s first energy community

Wien Energie works alongside 100 residents of the VIERTEL ZWEI urban development area to jointly research and develop concepts for urban life in a smart future, focusing on innovative ideas for mobility, energy and living. Residents generate their own electricity, among other things, using a PV system and trade it with each other by means of blockchain. This means that VIERTEL ZWEI is the location of Austria’s first energy community, created within the scope of this innovative project, with Wien Energie investing a total of more than two million euros over a period of some five years.

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Project details

The EU’s Clean Energy Package enables private individuals to participate actively in the energy market themselves within the framework of what are known as ‘energy communities’. They can come together to form communities to generate, distribute, consume, store and trade electricity and heating among themselves. Energy communities will play a decisive role in the energy system transformation in the future. Wien Energie is in the process of piloting Austria’s first energy community in VIERTEL ZWEI.

VIERTEL ZWEI is an office and residential estate in Vienna’s Leopoldstadt district. As part of the ‘Urban Pioneers Community interactive pilot innovation project, Wien Energie invited residents of VIERTEL ZWEI to jointly develop new products and services in the fields of energy, mobility and smart living that are perfectly tailored to their needs, meaning that the community was able to contribute their own ideas. This approach produced solutions that closely reflect what customers actually need and which are being gradually implemented.

VIERTEL ZWEI residents can trade the self-generated solar power from the roof-mounted PV system among themselves, enabling the locally generated electricity to be distributed in line with demand. For instance, if a neighbour is away on holiday for three weeks, they can sell their share of solar power to the family next door during this time, thereby preventing the valuable green electricity from being lost – the energy is used efficiently and locally. The neighbours can also sell any unused kilowatt hours on the electricity exchange, with blockchain technology being used here. It is also be possible to store solar power in a dedicated neighbourhood storage facility.

Blockchain technology forms the basis for solar power trading transactions. The infrastructure currently being rolled out in the district was developed together with the start-up Riddle & Code. PV systems and electricity meters, followed by e-charging stations and storage facilities later in the year, will be equipped with a special chip to integrate them into the blockchain. It has already been possible to produce initial simulated customer bills for an e-charging point in a laboratory test. Blockchain technology has a number of decisive advantages when it comes to activities in energy communities, such as ensuring secure and transparent billing, seamless tracking and identification. Transparency makes energy, and thus energy efficiency, tangible.

Wien Energie offers residents different tariffs that are tailored to their individual consumption patterns and preferences. Residents can use an online platform to see their energy consumption and costs at any time and to switch tariffs.

  • For market-oriented customers: This tariff uses the actual market price. Residents can see the prices for themselves at any time and adjust their energy consumption accordingly.
  • For convenience-oriented customers: A flat rate, i.e. a fixed price with no additional consumption-based payments.
  • For planners: A time-of-use tariff in which cheap electricity can be used outside the main hours of consumption, making it possible to achieve savings for individuals by optimising energy use.

In December 2019, an electricity storage system with a capacity of about 70 kWh was installed as an additional integral part of the energy community. The capacity corresponds to the daily consumption of more than ten households in VIERTEL ZWEI. The electricity storage provides for higher efficiency since it allows the utilisation of locally produced solar energy even during evening and night hours or during times with little sunlight. Hence, it increases self-consumption.

The electricity storage system is a discharge to the electricity grid since it flattens the consumption curve. The battery enables the so-called “peak shaving”. Instead of drawing the electricity out of the grid, the stored energy can be taken out of the battery during peak consumption.

In the future the electricity storage system could be installed as an active participant in the energy market in order to sell excess electricity as balancing energy in order to contribute to grid stabilisation.

In the future, an innovative heat and cooling supply with different components such as solar thermal energy, heat pumps, local district heating system and cooling station could be integrated to the energy community.

Michael Strebl

“What has become legally possible in multiple occupancy buildings under the Green Electricity Act is to be extended even further with the EU’s Clean Energy Package. I see a great opportunity here for energy providers like us. We can support local communities and neighbourhoods with our expertise if they intend to pool their efforts to produce and use their own energy.”

Michael Strebl, General Manager of Wien Energie

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