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Smart and Flexible 100 % Renewable District Heating and Cooling Systems for European Cities (SMARTREFLEX)

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The SmartReFlex project aims at increasing the diffusion of smart and flexible district heating and cooling (DHC) systems, basing on high shares of renewable energy sources (RES), in European cities.In order to reach this aim, a mixed project consortium was created, including regional authorities, DHC utilities and consultancy partners, which specific high-level skills on RES DHC and on energy planning at local level.6 regions in 4 countries (DE, IE, IT, ES) will implement legislative and organisational measures for promoting high-RES DHC, also benefitting from the know-how transfer by Denmark. These measures include:
  • improvement in regional legislation, supporting the implementation of high-RES DHC;
  •  integration of high-RES DHC in heat planning at regional and local level;
  • creation of cooperatively-owned companies for managing high-RES DHC systems;
  • study, planning and supporting of new high-RES DHC projects at local level.
In order to assure a correct implementation:
  • a regional task force on high-RES DHC will be set up in each participating region;
  • an ambitious capacity building activity will be carried out, aiming at involving the key stakeholders in the regions and also at national level: technical staff and city planners from Municipalities, other regional and local authorities in the country, technical and managing staff from DHC utilities, DHC industry, technical designers, cooperative unions, consumer protection associations and the financial sector.


  • 12 improved policies at regional and local level for the promotion of RES DH
  • 6 regional task forces with 60 stakeholders actively involved
  • 18 high level training seminars (144 hours) with 120 participants
  • 14 new systems using high shares of renewable energy sources for district heating and cooling
  • More than 10 replication cases of the SmartReFlex model beyond the project boundariesreplicate SmartReFlex models in more than 10 cases.

Lessons learned

  • Thanks to the expert partners from DK and DE the draft versions of the regional strategies have been reviewed to make them as practical as possible. Especially the availability of partners from DK not directly involved in a country team allows a very helpful view from ‘outside’ to improve the strategy and implementation process for the regional partners.
  • Capacity building workshops have shown to be a very good framework for discussion between the local stakeholders, especially with a balance between speakers for abroad and local representatives.Local energy planning, and heat planning in particular, is at an early stage of development in participating regions.
  • Further capacity building and piloting in the framework of the SRF project will help establishing a methodological framework and demonstrate best practice in this area.

Partners and coordinator

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Ambiente Italia
Contact point: 
Riccardo Battisti
+39 0644340129; +39 3939413523


In brief

01/03/2014 to 28/02/2017
Contract number: 
IEE/13/434/ SI2.674873

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