Pauline Raux-Defossez of Sim4Blocks partner EIFER led an interesting and beneficial presentation to 25 attendees from the French network of urban planning agencies (Fédération Nationale des Agences d’Urbanisme – FNAU) looking for insight into the relevance of energy issues in their own daily work. The French network of urban panning agencies is a national association of the urban agencies in France, which supports cities in the development of urban planning.

EIFER is one of Sim4Blocks’ focused research group leaders, dedicated to the business models, market access, and standardisation of demand response programmes. EIFER have extensive expertise in Europe’s electricity market and are the task leader for designing potential future business models for demand response services in Germany, Spain and Switzerland. With this knowledge, EIFER wanted to offer attendees another point of view on how demand response could be utilised in their buildings, and how Sim4Blocks could help introduce flexibility into their energy systems and contribute to future urban environments.

The presentation focused on the framework conditions of electricity markets on a European scale. From this, the topic of the session was led into the different technologies currently being tested on the Sim4Blocks pilot sites such as a heat pump or heat network, and what flexibility these technologies could offer for the energy system while contributing to the integration of renewable energies.

In any demand response programme, the greatest difficulty is making people feel interested in the project without making them feel as if they are being forced, and then maintaining this motivation long-term. The debate then focused on the challenges that urban agencies may face to motivate cities and districts, and the need for incentives.

Currently, demand response programmes already exist in France and Germany but rather address industrial stakeholders. The potential of residential demand response remains quite unexploited in both countries, despite high electricity prices in Germany.

EIFER explained, “One of the things we want to highlight to the city and urban planners regarding demand response programmes was the public approval they would gain if they said they were participating in energy transition, contributing to the flexibility of the energy system, and reducing overall energy consumption.

“We also wanted to point out the relevance of new technologies and programmes for the future urban planning development,” EIFER concluded.