The current centralised, fossil fuel-reliant energy system is experiencing a gradual transition to a more decentralised system, particularly in cities where decentralised energy resources (DER) largely based on renewable sources can help alleviate chronic environmental problems. This transition gave rise to the concept that the pervasion of sensors, embedded systems and ubiquitous network connectivity in urban energy systems (UES) could enhance the overall quality of life through so-called “smart cities” and “smart grids.” A comprehensive analysis of recent reviews of EU-funded projects has elucidated a range of good practices, regarding stakeholder engagement, citizen participation, funding, technologies and demand-side management. Coupled with suitable modelling frameworks accurate analysis of synergies between generation assets, storage solutions and demand-side management (DSM) interventions is possible. Three dominant conceptual models have been identified: the energy hub, the microgrid and the virtual power plant. The technical characteristics can be transferred to the framework structure to be developed for optimising the energy system of the “Fiera del Levante” exhibition complex in the southern Italian city of Bari, which is characterized by a highly variable energy demand scenario. This paper describes the proposed methodology for this case study, which is strongly linked to the Technology Selection and Operation (TSO) model developed at Imperial College London.
Keywords smart city, urban energy system, district heating and cooling, energy hub, micro grid, virtual power plant