European lessons learnt on synergies between mobility and energy

3 December 2020
Electric car charging

The borderline between mobility and energy is attracting an increasing amount of interest as the European vehicle fleet is in the process of being electrified. Johanneberg Science Park has, on behalf of the EU project ACCESS, compiled an overview of current initiatives and solutions for optimizing power consumption, storage and renewable energy sources.

— Today, mobility and energy are two important factors in all urban development projects. The major issue being how to ensure a sustainable supply of energy when a growing number of electric cars will need to be charged, but also how parked electric cars can be used as batteries in an integrated energy system, says Linnea Johansson, project manager at Johanneberg Science Park who has written the report "Learning lessons from the intersection of e-mobility and energy”.

Johanneberg Science Park has the role of knowledge partner in the EU project ACCESS, where cities around the North Sea exchange experiences on sustainable and smart energy systems. As the technological development is moving forward with high speed, while the need to switch from fossil fuels is urgent, there are great gains to be made by replicating, or copying, solutions that exist in other cities. This is often a stated purpose in the EU’s calls for innovation projects. But when it comes to electrifying the vehicle fleet, the European countries are in very different stages.

— Sweden is not particularly far ahead compared to other countries. There is a kind of catch 22 where there are not enough electric cars to consider it worthwhile to expand the infrastructure, while there is not enough infrastructure, such as charging options, for people to feel completely comfortable buying an electric car. But at the same time, initiatives are sizzling in many places so a shift can be underway, says Linnea Johansson.

Among the countries that have come a long way in these matters are the Netherlands and Norway, who have invested proactively in charging infrastructure. Examples and lessons learnt from these countries are included in the report, which summarizes the state of knowledge and provides examples of several interesting projects in Europe relating to the integration between electric vehicles and smart grids.

Even though electric vehicles put lots of demands on the electricity grid, they can also help with the supply. An example is to use the car batteries as energy storages that can return energy to the system when they are parked, or that used car batteries get new lives as energy storage in other places. Even smart charging can relieve the electricity system by adapting the charging speed according to how much electricity is in the grid and thus balance supply and demand.

— Sharing the experiences of other in this type of European projects gives us a good overview of the state of knowledge which in turn can be of use in local construction projects where Johanneberg Science Park has a role to contribute to innovative solutions. One example is the urban development project Forsåker, where mobility and energy are high on the agenda and plans are being formed regarding which innovative solutions should be developed, says Stina Rydberg, who leads Johanneberg Science Park's efforts in ACCESS.

ACCESS – Advancing Communities towards low-Carbon Energy Smart Systems
ACCESS aims to deliver 25% reduction in CO2 emissions, 20% reduction in costs and cut smart grid project development time by 30%. 

Europe is moving towards more sustainable, decentral and digital energy grids. Cities face the task of coordinating the local transition of renewable energy generation and storage while maintaining grid stability. Integration between energy vectors (heat, electricity) is necessary to enable wider flexibility and improved efficiency. The North Sea Region (NSR) is leading the way, as many novel technologies and business models have been successfully demonstrated. But as the region prepares the transition, new challenges related to governance, finance and technology choices arise.

No single organisation has the expertise or ability to experiment with a broad range of technologies, governance and financing models. To achieve these objectives, local authorities Amersfoort (NL), West-Suffolk Councils (UK), Malmö (SE) and Mechelen (BE) will jointly explore and demonstrate how scaled approaches could be achieved. Examples include local energy community hubs, peer-to-peer energy trading models, and local collaborative planning tools. Support from four knowledge partners (Aarhus University, Johanneberg Science Park, IfM ECS, VITO) will provide expertise and structure.      

Together, this will result in a systematic upscaling approach, that delivers pathways and action plans to enable the energy grids transition, transferable to other authorities in the region.

The ACCESS webpage

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Content
Stina Rydberg
Project Manager

Stina Rydberg

Linnea Johannsson
Project leader

Linnea Johansson