A talk with LocalRES partners: The point of view of the Austrian Institute of Technology

LocalRES “Empowering local renewable energy communities for the decarbonisation of the energy systems” is a European funded project under the HORIZON 2020 Programme. Its main objective is to engage citizens and communities to participate in the energy transition and lead to a structural change towards the decarbonisation of the local energy systems.  We have asked to one of its 20 partners, the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) , to explain us its point of view on the project and its main mission. 

Read the interview!

1. What is your role within the LocalRES project? 

AIT coordinates the activities at the Austrian Demo-site Ollersdorf as well as the assessment of specific future decarbonisation scenarios of the LocalRES pilots and development of business models for REC.

2. In your experience, which is the biggest potential of Renewable Energy Communities (RECs) for a fair energy transformation? 

Since only recently the regulation to allow the legal framework of a REC was passed in Austria, our experience is mainly based on theoretical research. In general, a REC brings AWARENESS to every participant’s energy consumption. This fosters a culture of self-optimization and energy saving per household. Also, as a community, investment in large and state-of-the-art renewable technologies is greatly reduced as the cost is split across the community. This also allows optimal installation location of equipment to which an individual my not have access to. A Renewable Energy Community, if set up correctly, can use its community storage and other flexibilities to bridge times of blackout and supply critical infrastructure even though the grid is down. 

What does LocalRES aim to achieve in Ollersdorf and how is the process going? 

We intend to to create a fully fledged Renewable Energy Community with all the required tooling, legal frameworks and infrastructure. As of now the legal requirements for forming a REC have been done and we are in the process of deploying the required infrastructure to allow aggregation and control of participating assets. Tooling implementation for optimization and blackout recommendations are in full swing.