Positive Energy Districts (PED)

Positive Energy Districts (PED)

Contributing to the ambitious targets of the European Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan (SET Plan Action 3.2), the programme “Positive Energy Districts and Neighbourhoods for Sustainable Urban Development” supports the planning, deployment and replication of 100 Positive Energy Neighbourhoods by 2025. It is joined by 20 EU member states and conducted by JPI Urban Europe. The programme involves stakeholders from R&I funding networks, cities, industry, research organisations and citizen organisations.

Want to know more about the second (now open!) PED call: Joint Call for Proposals: Positive Energy Districts and Neighbourhoods for Climate Neutrality? Learn more on the call page.

Europe aims to be a global role model in energy transition and reducing its carbon footprint. Cities and the building sector play a decisive role in that process. Positive Energy Districts and Neighbourhoods are an integral part of comprehensive approaches towards sustainable urbanisation including technology, spatial, regulatory, financial, legal, social and economic perspectives. They require interaction and integration between buildings, the users and the regional energy, mobility and ICT system. In this sense, a Positive Energy District is seen as an urban neighbourhood with annual net zero energy import and net zero CO₂ emissions working towards a surplus production of renewable energy, integrated in an urban and regional energy system.

The Programme “Positive Energy Districts and Neighbourhoods for Sustainable Urban Development” supports the planning, deployment and replication of 100 Positive Energy Neighbourhoods by 2025

Active management will allow for balancing and optimisation, peak shaving, load shifting, demand response and reduced curtailment of RES, and district-level self-consumption of electricity and thermal energy. A Positive Energy District couples built environment, sustainable production and consumption, and mobility to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions and to create added value and incentives for the consumer. Furthermore, implementation has to come with a high and affordable standard of living for its inhabitants.

Why “Positive Energy Districts and Neighbourhoods”?

Urban development must move from mere building solutions to Positive Energy Districts and Neighbourhoods and similar innovative concepts to reach the European energy and climate targets. As an integral part of comprehensive sustainable urbanisation strategies including societal, social, economic, cultural aspects and the involvement of citizens, establishing Positive Energy Districts and Neighbourhoods shifts the focus from the individual positive energy building to positive energy blocks towards neighbourhoods and thus a new level of impact on sustainable urban development and the energy transition process. Discussions with cities and stakeholders from R&I, industry, investors and citizens will seek to raise awareness, find common understandings on the topic and outline possible approaches towards the implementation of Positive Energy Districts.

Countries involved in the PED Programme

Austria, Belgium*, Switzerland, Cyprus**, Czech Republic**, Germany**, Denmark*, Spain**, Finland*, France, United Kingdom**, Italy, Latvia*, Netherlands, Norway*, Portugal*, Romania*, Slovakia**, Sweden, Turkey*

*participating occasionally in joint actions
**interested countries

Cities as driving forces

Municipalities and urban actors play a key role in achieving energy and climate targets. By creating the pre-conditions cities and communities are the driving forces behind establishing Positive Energy Districts and Neighbourhoods. European cities are already very active in integrating strategies of sustainable urbanisation – the Programme on Positive Energy Districts and Neighbourhoods offers partnership and support for cities in doing the next step of sustainable urban development and becoming frontrunners in the field of energy transition. Being part of the problem means being part of the solution: cities consume two thirds of energy supply and 70% of CO2-emissions come from urban environments. The programme offers an intense dialogue with cities and other stakeholders on urban transition – together we will develop feasible and socially sound pathways for creating liveable urban neighbourhoods meeting the challenges of the 21st century.

The Programme provides:

  • Multi-stakeholder platform developing implementation pathways
  • Exchange of information, experiences and visions with other European cities, forming a network of European Positive Energy Cities
  • Funding of concrete initiation projects

PED Reference Framework

Following intense discussions with stakeholders, cities and urban actors, the PED Programme has elaborated a PED Reference Framework. In order to develop a broad common understanding and joint basis of approaching the topic, the framework has been developed with the aim of scoping ambition, goals and cornerstones for the development of PEDs, following a holistic approach to urban development and that is feasible for cities as the primary problem-owners. In a broad consultation process on the proposed first version we received valuable inputs for further developing the framework – we’d like to thank all contributors! All contributions have been summarized in key lessons and a second version of the PED Reference Framework has been published.

Reference Framework definition for PED/PENs

Within the national consultations, the PED reference framework proposed by the PED Programme Management has been discussed and acknowledgedwidely. As a result, the reference framework definition for PED/PENs is as follows:
“Positive Energy Districts are energy-efficient and energy-flexible urban areas or groups of connected buildings which produce net zero greenhouse gas emissions and actively manage an annual local or regional surplus production of renewable energy. They require integration of different systems and infrastructures and interaction between buildings, the users and the regional energy, mobility and ICT systems, while securing the energy supply and a good life for all in line with social, economic and environmental sustainability.”

Key lessons

from national consultation and the updated PED Reference Framework are now available in the White Paper – Reference Framework for Positive Energy Districts and Neighbourhoods.

Booklet of Positive Energy Districts in Europe

This compilation provides overview information on project data, different approaches and challenges/success factors for projects in different stages of implementation towards sustainable urbanization and the energy transition. The booklet is is far from complete and is seen as work in progress, aiming at building the collection of PED-related cases. Content will be updated regularly and systematic analysis will be conducted. Therefore we appreciate any additional contributions. For your project to be added, please download the template and send it to christoph.gollner@jpi-urbaneurope.eu.

Learn more

SET Plan Action 3.2 Implementation Plan

PEDs for sustainable urbanization

View the Urban Lunch Talk on PED

Towards 100 Positive Energy Districts and Neighbourhoods (Leaflet)

Booklet Of PEDs

White Paper – Reference Framework for Positive Energy Districts and Neighbourhoods

Article: Towards 100 Positive Energy Districts in Europe: Preliminary Data Analysis of 61 European Cases (2020)

Urban Lunch Talk #16: Positive Energy Districts – The Do’s, Don’ts and Dilemmas (March 2021)




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