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Energy Community in Brabrand Aims for Self-Sufficient Electricity Supply

Updated: Jun 19

The Brabrand district of Aarhus has set an ambition to become energy-positive, meaning that Brabrand will produce more energy than it consumes in a year. Reaching this objective will require, among other things, a self-sufficient supply of electricity from locally sourced renewables. This is where Sol over Brabrand (Sun over Brabrand) comes in. The association wants to establish an energy community in the district where households, companies and public organisations can trade green electricity produced from rooftop solar power.


The Sol Over Brabrand Energy Community in Aarhus

In a dense place like Brabrand, there is no room for massive wind turbines. However, the sprawling building stock creates opportunities for photovoltaic roofs to supply locals with green power for much of the year. This is the basic idea that led to the creation of an energy community Sol over Brabrand. Its goal is to create a community-driven energy model where companies, individuals and public stakeholders can trade electricity with each other.

 

Brabrand has seen a rise in solar roofs over the years but the overall coverage remains low because selling surplus electricity is not commercially viable. The main challenge is that a heavily controlled price structure for electricity inhibits trade in locally produced energy. However, things are starting to change. The EU's Renewable Energy Directive is putting pressure on Danish politicians to unlock the potential of local energy communities by liberalising the market.

 

Under the EU law, energy communities can take the form of any legal entity, including an association, a cooperative, a partnership, a non-profit organisation, or a limited liability company. EU legislation encourages active consumer participation in areas such as electricity production, consumption, sharing, storage, or sale. Moreover, EU countries are expected to provide adequate support so that energy communities can participate on an equal footing with large players.

 

The wind of change has inspired local enthusiasts to try a new energy model for trading green electricity in the district. Since its inception, Sol over Brabrand has collaborated with the environmental organisation Vedvarende Energi, various technology suppliers, and Aarhus Municipality, which has selected Brabrand as a pilot area for BIPED. Working in tandem, experts in energy, transport and technology will test novel solutions for energy transition in close collaboration with businesses and citizens.

 

Of particular interest are solutions that make it easy and attractive to buy and sell locally produced green electricity. Traditional power industry is monopolised and lacks market efficiency. A decentralised, peer-to-peer approach (P2P) offers an alternative model where everyone is a producer and a consumer at the same time; a community of prosumers. In a P2P model, people experience the value of clean, decentralized energy production. They become more independent, achieve financial benefits (lower energy bills, reduced energy poverty) and can more easily track the impact of their consumption behaviour. This makes energy transition tangible and ‘closer to the people.’

 

“We want to participate in the green transition. We want to produce electricity when and where it is needed,” said Carsten Drasbæk, one of Sol over Brabrand’s co-founders. "We will be working with BIPED to decarbonise Brabrand and make the district energy self-sufficient."


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BIPED is funded under the EU Horizon Europe Research and Innovation programme. Grant ID: 101139060

BIPED is funded under the EU Horizon Europe Research and Innovation programme. Grant ID: 101139060

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