SMARCTIC project partner, Derry City & Strabane District Council, hosted the Interreg NPA project’s second partner meeting on the 23rd of January in the Guild Hall of Derry City (Northern Ireland). The building is a historical focal point for the city and the Whittaker Suite set a stunning backdrop for partners from the UK, Ireland, Finland, Iceland and Sweden to converge. The project partnership is composed of three energy public service providers, one energy applied research centre, one energy service company and lead partner, ERNACT who are using their transnational experience to manage the project. The partnership is further strengthened through associate partners from public authorities, universities and housing associations in Norway and Canada. Transnational cooperation is key to achieving the project’s main result of “5 Northern Periphery & Arctic regions with enhanced capacity to deliver high-quality integrated energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions in their communities”.
The main aim of the meeting was to bring the project partners together to discuss key aspects relating to the project’s trajectory. Leo Strawbridge, Energy Manager at Derry City and Strabane District Council, provided a warm welcome to participants, especially regional partners who had travelled from Scandinavia and were visiting the city for the first time. Juanita Blue, project manager took the opportunity present and revise SMARCTIC’s unique aim, objectives and approach in focusing on stocks of buildings in specific geographical areas within remote NPA regions. To this end, particular attention was paid to conveying the importance of community involvement and benefit from project outputs. Juanita stated that , “we hear a lot about SMART cities, they represent the realisation of AI and the IoT’s promise – intelligent and connected devices helping inhabitants enjoy a better quality of life – and SMART energy is an integral element of SMART city infrastructure. This project aims to adapt existing SMART energy solutions and apply them in sparsely populated northern periphery and arctic regions, so that citizens of remote areas may also experience the benefits of clever energy solutions, whilst developing ‘SMART REGIONS’ and even ‘SMARTER’ ENERGY COMMUNITIES”.
The partner meeting also saw presentations from Finnish partner, Mikko Rintala (Lapland University of Applied Science). Mikko outlined the newly developed conceptual ‘SMART Energy Management Model’ (SEMM) that would be adapted for pilots in each region and gave information in relation to the enabling technologies and tools that could be invoked. Icelandic partner, Dr. Ragnar Asmundsson from Varmalausnir (HeatRD) who has expertise in deploying energy solutions to final customers, will be leading the pilot development workpackage. Ragnar provided information on pilot development methodology and implementation, describing how these pilots will act as test beds to implement the SMART solutions in real life conditions.
The next partner meeting and discussion on developments will take place in Akureyri, Iceland in June 2020 where partners can plan the next steps for the SMARCTIC project.