2016-11-23 ¦ First visit in Hartberg

The demonstration site visit organized on the 23rd and 24th of November 2016 at the Ökopark in Hartberg, Austria, was the first event gathering research partners, practitioners and experts of the ReFlex project team. 20 participants of mixed backgrounds (sociologists, electrical and mechanical engineers, energy economists), coming mainly from Germany and Austria, could learn from the experiments carried out at the Ökopark in Hartberg. The presentations and guided tours, provided by the Hartberg demonstration project team, offered valuable insights into the different smart grid solutions on site and were followed by vivid discussions and questions from the attendees. 

© Lewald, EIFER

The Ökopark, a hub for innovation and sustainability 

On the first event day, Anton Schuller, in charge of the economic development of the City of Hartberg, explained that Hartberg’s commitment to sustainability dates back 26 years ago, when the city became member of the climate alliance (“Klimabündnis”). This resulted in the foundation of the Ökopark, an industry, business, research and leisure park, which has grown over the years. The Ökopark hosts several innovative companies such as the Stadtwerke (municipal utility) as well as Venios, an IT company working in the energy sector. In 2011, the City of Hartberg became one of the first Austrian cities to join the Smart City initiative funded by the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund. 



Alois Kraußler from 4ward Energy Research, Markus Puchegger from Forschung Burgenland and Dietmar Nöhrer and his colleagues from the Stadtwerke Hartberg presented the projects ranging from smart building, smart mobility and smart energy which have already been implemented or are currently in progress. The guided tours around the Oköpark allowed the attendees to familiarize themselves with several technical solutions used on site: a solar carport coupled with a charging station for electric vehicles, a power-driven biogas cogeneration plant, an absorption chiller using waste heat from the cogeneration plant to produce cold water in summer, a power-to-heat solution based on solar energy to heat up the aquariums within the cinema. 

© Lewald, EIFER

Valuable inputs were provided by the site visit participants

The first day of the workshop ended with a session dedicated to the project research questions. Participants were asked by the work package leaders to give their feedback on the replicability and scalability concept elaborated so far. Among the topics discussed were barriers of legal unbundling, end users acceptance and loyalty, data protection and security (the danger of hacker’s attacks to the power grid was a hot topic), as well as demand response business models. Discussions continued during dinner, enabling participants to share their thoughts and experiences.

On the second day, the workshop opened with a talk about the present and the future of the demo site Hartberg. Then, the local stakeholders were asked about their expectations concerning the ReFlex project. The valuable inputs given by the panel will be of great use for the design of the next site visit in Biel-Benken, Switzerland, taking place on the 25th and 26th of January 2017 and for the first COP Workshop, which will be held from the 13th to the 15th of March 2017 in Wüstenrot, Germany. 

Enjoy the holiday season and see you in 2017

The project team would like to express its appreciation and grateful thanks to Dietmar Nöhrer and the team of the Stadtwerke Hartberg for their hospitality and help, as well as Manfred Tragner from 4ward Energy for his support in the organization of this event. All participants are thanked for sharing their perception and for the frank and open discussion. 

We are looking forward to meeting you in Biel-Benken!

© Lewald, EIFER