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The ReDREAM project demonstrates that another energy system is possible

Comillas hosted the final event of the European project in which some of the main conclusions and challenges were presented


19 March 2024

The EU-funded ReDREAM research and development project is nearing completion and that means it is time to share the results and present the next steps. To this end, Comillas Pontifical University hosted an event attended by 60 participants to present some key issues such as the remaining regulatory barriers and other technical aspects such as the necessary technological developments.

The project, which has been coordinated by Álvaro Sánchez Miralles and Francisco Martín Martínez, members of Comillas, and in which other lecturers from the university have participated, such as Rubén Rodríguez-Vilches, Miguel Ángel Sanz-Bobi Carmen Valor, Pablo Calvo Juan Carlos, Romero Roberto Barrella Efraim Centeno and Olga Rico, began three years ago with the intention of demonstrating that digital solutions and a user-centred ecosystem can bring together the main stakeholders in the energy system and empower consumers to significantly influence the sustainability of the energy market.

In addition to the researchers from Comillas, the meeting was attended by Marine Cornelis, ambassador of the EU Climate Pact who supports energy communities and initiatives with her company Next Energy Consumer; Andrés Pinto-Bello Gómez, head of research at smartEn Smart Energy Europe and one of the leading experts on the European energy transition, and Danilo Piersanti, mayor of the Italian town Gallese, a true energy pioneer with an energy community based on renewable energies.

Throughout the project, several technical and social innovations have been tested and demonstrated in households, small industries and tertiary premises, with the participation of consumers from Spain, Italy, the UK and Croatia. In these three years, the project has had to deal with a pandemic in its early days and a war that increased energy prices, making projects like this one that seek to increase consumer awareness and activation even more important.

A possible utopia

ReDREAM has directly and indirectly reached a total of 693 users, demonstrating that it is possible to effectively communicate the message of demand flexibility among passive consumers through energy communities, thus fulfilling the objective of getting the message across quickly and effectively.

In addition, it has been confirmed that the use of flexibility by consumers is affordable, provided there is remuneration for it, allowing them to take an active role in the energy transition by monitoring and controlling their energy consumption. Users have been able to change their energy use by up to 13%.

The project has successfully overcome the barrier of leveraging existing infrastructure and becoming part of the energy system. For example, through a mobile app, users can control the energy consumption of appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers, adjusting it according to the availability of renewable energy produced (seen in their app) or the lowest cost times (advised by the system). Others, such as electric vehicles or air conditioning systems, have been managed automatically (by intelligent algorithms) to help the electricity system.

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