Cross-SCCER Joint Activity


The aim of this activity is to explore the coupling of the electrical grid with other energy-carrier grids such as heat and gas while addressing the socio-economic aspects related to the implementation of multi-energy systems and smart grid solutions. Activities are focused on two demo sites, namely the SCCER-FURIES Romande Energie Demonstrator (hereafter called RE Demo) and the SCCER-FURIES Arbon Demonstrator (hereafter called Arbon Demo) enabling their enhancement with more in-depth studies of the multi-energy grid potentials and associated socio-economic aspects.

The main objectives of the proposed joint activity are the following.

  1. Definition of guidelines for the planning of future multi-energy systems.
  2. Assessment of the value-creation of different business models for various stakeholders (i.e., consumers, prosumers, third aggregators or market players, distribution and transmission system operators) over a long-term time horizon (2030).

This multidisciplinary activity will build upon knowledge and capacities that have been developed in the frame of three different SCCERs; it will complement and add value to the RE demo and Arbon demo and result in a turnkey solution for Distribution System Operators (DSOs).

Project’s objectives will be achieved through a holistic approach addressing the following aspects:

  1. Technical aspects of the multi-energy systems; through the development and demonstration of improved methods and models for designing, simulation, control and energy management of multi-energy systems at the building, district and community levels.
  2. Socio-economic aspects of the multi-energy systems and other smart grid solutions: through the development and validation of new business models for the promotion of multi-energy systems and other smart grid technologies, considering both technical and stakeholders’ perspectives.

These models will be validated mainly in the RE Demo and partially in the Arbon Demo and generalised to be applicable to other DSOs.

These objectives are reflecting the strategic targets of Romande Energie (RE) and collaborations are envisioned with various departments of RE in order to address real cases, such as:

  1. Integration in the grid of a district heating, based on a centralized heat pump system and coupled with a geologic storage.
  2. Re-engineering of the RE business models.

The resulted solutions will increase the flexibility of the energy networks via local energy production and conversion at multiple levels. At the building level, they are expected to reduce the high share of fossil fuel-based energy systems. At the district level, they are expected to enable the optimal exploration, distribution and coupling of local resource, such as solar energy, ambient heat, waste heat, and storage potentials. The proposed joint activity are expected to provide multiple benefits for all the stakeholders and contribute significantly to the achievement of the Swiss Energy Strategy 2050 and the Swiss Electricity Networks Strategy.


This joint activity consists of two Work Packages (WPs) covering each of the main objectives of the project (see Objectives), namely:

JA-WP1. Planning of multi-energy systems at single building and district level

This WP includes the following tasks:

Task 1.1. Building to District: Exploration of system design options to increase the flexibility of the energy system by optimizing building efficiency together with multi-energy systems


Mathias Niffeler (HSLU- ZIG)   Andrew Bollinger (EMPA- UES)

Task 1.2. District to Grid: Enhancement of grid operation by designing district-level multi-energy systems capable of providing flexibility to the power system


Dr. Luc Girardin (EPFL-IPESE) Lionel Block (EPFL-PVLab)

JA-WP2.Development of business models for multi-energy systems and other smart grid solutions

This WP includes the following tasks:

Task 2.1. Development of new business models suitable to exploit the business opportunities associated with multi-energy systems emerging in the retail market.


Dr. Benjamin Rohrbach (HSLU- ccPE)  

Task 2.2. Identification of drivers and barriers of multi-energy systems’ deployment, development, and validation of a model for the impact assessment of planning strategies of multi-energy systems on the value creation of the stakeholder’s business models


Dr. Merla Kubli (ZHAW – TREES)  

These WPs of the joint activity (JA WPs) will interact with the related WPs of the RE Demo under the Phase II proposal of FURIES (Demo WPs). The main interactions will be with the Demo WP5 on the Multi-energy System (MES) but also interactions are envisioned between JA WP2 and other Demo WPs particularly those related to the demand side management (Demo WP3) and energy storage facilities planning and integration (Demo WP4).


After 2 years of activities including calibration of methodologies, collection of data in collaboration with local authorities and utilities, and analysis, the JA-RED team has already produced innovative outcomes a sample of which is presented below.

Responsible district planning

The work performed in Task 1.1 so far, mostly revolved around the assessment of the most relevant aspects to a community’s energy system, the aggregation of buildings into districts and the creation of possible future development scenarios. As an example, the research team modelled three future retrofit scenarios with varying, building-type dependent, retrofit rates and compared their effects on the average energy consumption for space heating at a district scale. For better comparability of districts, the heating energy consumption was converted to GEAK®/CECB®/CECE® energy efficiency ratings; a building type-dependent rating system, proposed by the Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects’ (SIA) norm 2031. The adjacent figure presents the results of the retrofit scenario analysis.

Self-consumption at the building vs energy community level

We investigated the increase in profitability when aggregating load and PV-profiles from several buildings to self-consumption communities. Our results show that aggregating the average of four buildings to self-consumption communities yields a potential annual gross profit of about CHF 2’000 per self-consumption community. However, this amount requires an increase in installations of rooftop PV. As a consequence, the profitability of offering self-consumption communities highly depends on a business model facilitating the installation of rooftop PV.

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1. EPF Lausanne, Industrial Process and Energy Systems Engineering (Prof. Francois Marechal)
Marechal EPFL-IPESE works on the design and the techno-economic feasibility assessment of innovative multi-energy conversion systems. The work is focused on the development of multi-objective optimization models and tools for multi-carrier/multi-energy systems integration considering the geolocalised matching of the energy generation and demand as well as the storage options.
2. EPF Lausanne, Photovoltaics and Thin Film Electronics Laboratory (Dr. Nicolas Wyrsch)
Wyrsch EPFL PV-LAB works on the optimization, in terms of technology choice and sizing, of the local PV power generation and energy storage for their integration at the regional systems on the most efficient way measured as minimization of grid load and effective peak shaving; at the lowest infrastructure costs.
3. ZHAW, Sustainable Energy Systems (Dr. Silvia Ulli-Beer)
 Ulli-Beer ZHAW Sustainable Energy Systems group works on the acceptability of technologies and infrastructure projects based on individuals’ needs and behaviours in order to provide local authorities with design principles for sustainable energy regions and utilities with innovative business models.
4. HSLU – Competence Center for Power Economy ( Prof. Christoph Imboden)
Imboden HSLU competence center Power Economy combines distinct competences in order to find solutions for a sustainable energy future. This is achieved through balancing operative efficiency and strategic development.
5. HSLU – Center for Integrated Building Technology (Stefan Mennel )
Mennel HSLU Center for Integral Building Technology ZIG considers the building as a whole system. It moves at the interface between traditional engineering disciplines and architecture.
6. EMPA – Urban Energy Systems (Viktor Dorer )
EMPA Urban Energy Systems Laboratory focusses on the development of methods, strategies, and solutions to transform buildings, neighborhoods, and cities into energy-efficient and decarbonized systems. Our core competencies lie in the modelling, design, and assessment of building and urban systems with a focus on energy hubs, multi-energy grids, and integration of renewable energy and storage systems.