Taking action on Climate Change: Empowering a new generation of near zero-emission citizens
AURORA is about working with people to make a difference to Climate Change, reduce energy demand and lower energy costs. We will do this by demonstrating that at least 7,000 citizens across five locations in Denmark, England, Portugal, Slovenia, and Spain can make more informed energy decisions. Every participant will receive a mobile APP that can be used to:
- Monitor their energy behaviour;
- Provide automated personalised advice on how to change energy usage and lower costs and carbon;
- Track and benchmark their performance using a new energy labelling scheme that will allow people to benchmark against their peers; and
- Support them to invest in community solar power schemes and offset that investment against their carbon footprint.
Through taking part they will be able to drive change and show others how it can be done. They will join local communities of crowd-funded energy schemes building ca 1 megawatt of solar power, active “prosumers” transforming and decentralising energy generation. They will be the pioneers, leading others to follow their example, focusing on action, not just protest, to accelerate the decarbonisation of our energy supply and use.
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Our Partners and Pilot Leads in AURORA
Aarhus University is responsible for defining the labelling-scheme to identify citizens based on their energy consumption, as well as the metrics to monitor changes in behaviour and how fast they are achieved. AU also conducts the international peer-reviewing of the proposed methodology. The planning of citizen research meetings, to be implemented by all the partners, is also AU responsibility.
AU coordinates the establishment of the Local Energy Initiative in Aarhus, including the definition of the business model, the implementation of strategies to ensure participants engagement, and practicalities of the solar PV installation. This will be done in close collaboration with the university climate action plan.
The team takes care of invigorating the individual interventions defined by the Local Energy Initiative and organizing workshops on solar PV installations. Also it takes advantage of the data collected in AURORA and, combining it with its extensive expertise on energy modelling, implement the analysis of energy transition paths for Europe and investigate the impact of behavioural changes and efficiency improvements such as those monitored in AURORA.
University of Évora sets a demonstrator of the European Energy Awareness rationale where students and other staff linked to the university – and other stakeholders at the campus – have the chance to monitor their energy-mix carbon footprint and crowdfund a local photovoltaic facility. University of Évora performs different interventions to help citizens to choice more sustainable energy behaviours while also contributing to the community behavioural changes. University of Évora also contributes to the dissemination and communication of the action, which includes the organization of a webinar with key actors in Portugal, but the main attribution here is the proper exploitation of data linked to the solar photovoltaic facilities crowdfunded in the Consortium to really contribute to evaluate the climate impact on energy infrastructures.
FoDDC contributes expertise and ideas including helping to shape and distribute the online survey, inputting to the near Zero-emission citizen labelling design and periodic citizen researcher meetings. It assists with the co-creation process for developing the App by facilitating local events in the Forest of Dean; ensuring these are well-targeted, promoted and attended.
FoDDC works in partnership with CSE to deliver an innovative Local Energy Initiative which provides a demonstrator for citizen engagement. This includes undertaking research and business model development focused on the installation of PV assets on council-owned buildings/sites including researching legal, planning and community set-up (i.e. establishing a Community Benefit Society) and investment costs and working up outline business models based on preferred community investment and ownership structures. CSE also advises and supports the crowdfunding process and provides technical support to FDDC on specifying and procuring the installation and communicating the project locally.
FoDDC leads on RoadMap development and support energy behaviour interventions for individuals, households and communities in the Forest of Dean.
University of Ljubljana will focus on the acquisition of data for Slovenian emission factors and energy carries along with modeling and analysis of citizen energy behaviours. Formation of a demonstrator followed by monitoring and assessment of drivers and bottlenecks in energy behaviours.
It is responsible for setting up and continuous monitoring of environmental impacts throught big data analysis at three levels: core group participants, extrapolation to the University of Ljubljana and projections for Ljubljana.
UoL builds inventory of social and energy communities in Slovenia and Europe wide to enable setting up energy communities with the business model of crowdfunding at the universities, in particular at the University of Ljubljana for PV power plants using different PV technologies with in-situ monitoring and open-access information on performance as demonstrators in the spirit of Citizen Science Innitiative
The demonstrators will be linked to the personal share of production as a driver for behavioural change in energy consumption. A hand-on workshop with low-cost sensors will be organized for active participants and for wider dissemination on the individual level. In the frame of collective interventions analysis of monitoring data will be used as a seed for the strategic roadmapof the Energy community at UL.
The team disseminates and communicates the results from the previous work packages and prepare a data management plan and materials for broader dissemination through webinars and video tutorials.
It manages and reports at UL and consortium level.
The Technical University of Madrid (UPM) leads the demonstrator in Madrid and the creation of the local energy initiative.
UPM coordinates the project and will be the work package leader for promoting energy behavioural changes through hands-on activities at individual and collective level. UPM will guide the consortium in defining and accomplishing adequate interventions to help citizens becoming “Near Zero-Emissions Citizens”. This will range from those with a defined STEM character where citizens will fabricate individual and collective devices to those involving participative processes to co-create civic local roadmaps and first-hand educational experiences in solar photovoltaic energy.
Another of the main tasks of UPM will be the creation of developing models and algorithms for the provenance-based integral calculation of the citizen energy footprint and ensuring due data management and ethics aspects.
Further Project Partners
The Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) contributes expertise and ideas including helping to shape and distribute the online survey, inputting to the near Zero-emission citizen labelling design and periodic citizen researcher meetings. It assists with the co-creation process of the app by designing and facilitating local events in the Forest of Dean and working with FODDC to ensure these are well-targeted, promoted and attended.
CSE works in partnership with FODDC to deliver an innovative Local Energy Initiative which provides a demonstrator for citizen engagement. This includes undertaking research and business model development focused on the installation of PV assets on council-owned buildings/sites including researching legal, planning and community set-up (i.e. establishing a Community Benefit Society) and investment costs and working up outline business models based on preferred community investment and ownership structures. CSE will also advise and support the crowdfunding process and provide technical support to FDDC on specifying and procuring the installation and communicating the project locally.
CSE supports energy behaviour interventions for individuals, households and communities in the Forest of Dean to help them understand the carbon reduction actions available and how to use the app and technology developed to monitor their own energy use and carbon footprints. And it supports UK-wide dissemination and exploitation of the Aurora Project lessons and tolos through its extensive national network of contacts, website, newsletter, enews and social media channels.
INSCICO leads the development and implementation of the AURORA “Environmental Impacts Monitoring”, including the development of the app. The institute thereby relies on its expertise in open innovation, both in theory and practice. With its experience in designing social science measurement instruments, specific models and algorithms are developed to enable us to us calculate the environmental impact and citizen energy footprint of each participant. This methodological capacity to systematically analyse social behaviour is crucial to foster citizen participation in the AURORA project.
Furthermore, INSCICO contributes to the initial identification of predictors for communities to participate in the awareness demonstrator, and design engagement events to foster community building.
With its core expertise in science communication, the institute will also play a major role in the Exploitation for instance by leading on the developlent of a Dissemination Plan and its monitoring, assisting in designing visualisations, video tutorials, and a variey of other dissemination material, including the project’s online communication strategy.
KempleyGreen Consultants was established in 2011 specifically to assist UK public and private organisations to improve success rates in the establishment of European Joint Projects.
KGC is lead beneficiary in Exploitation, Dissemination and Communication and leads partner to coordinate the exploitation, dissemination and communication of the main findings from AURORA.
KGC also develops the idea of energy ambassadors. Key professionals and community leaders are targeted, briefed and encouraged to spread the word about the AURORA project and its key outputs.
KGC identifies and gathers the opinion of 3 international experts from Environmental Regulators and Climate Foundations on the labelling system proposed on the AURORA project. The aim is to validate the labelling system, explore opportunities for wider use of the system beyond AURORA and identify how the labelling system could boost and accelerate the green transition. The finding is presented as a peer review and final report targeted at regulatory policy makers.
KGC provides support for the development the AURORA app develops strategies for continuous engagement.
KGC through Martin Brocklehurst as a community leader in the Forest of Dean brings support and advice to help CSE and FDDC in the engagement of the local community.
Contact: Martin Brocklehurst
Qualifying Photovoltaics (QPV) is a photovoltaic engineering and consultancy firm specialized in providing high added value services to maximize the profitability of PV investments.
In the project QPV designs and installs the monitoring systems of all the installations: sensorization, data gathering through a dedicated SCADA platform and synchronization of all the data in the cloud.
QPV accomplishes of the quality control of the installations, including the assessment of PV modules and generators, and inverters. It runs the performance analysis of the installations through the PVET platform, reporting, calculation of the main KPIs and detection and diagnosis of operational failures.
Members of the AURORA consortium at the kick-off meeting December 2021, together with the EU Project Officer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Citizen science involves the public in scientific research and thus has the potential to bring together science, policymakers, and society as a whole in an impactful way. Through citizen science, all people can participate in many stages of the scientific process, from the design of the research question, to data collection and volunteer mapping, data interpretation and analysis, and to publication and dissemination of results.
To reduce CO2 emissions on time, we need massive deployment of wind and solar photovoltaics. Here public acceptance can be an issue and, with this project, we want to prove strategies that enable the participation of citizens in the energy transition can bring many benefits. AURORA aims to engage citizens with energy sustainable behaviours, and empower civil society to adopt a leading role in the energy transition.
The project does not include funding to pay for the 1MW installation (200kW in each demonstrator). Those installations will be paid for via crowd-sourcing from the participants in the demonstrator site. The project aims at innovative citizen engagement through crowdfunding solar installations, citizen carbon footprint monitoring through an App, hands-on workshops, citizen researcher meetings, co-development of civic local roadmaps, and other activities. The project funding is devoted to all the research around that experience and includes many other different aspects.
The project team is currently working to develop a carbon footprint calculating tool, which will then become the backbone of the App. As a citizen science project, we wish to develop the App together with citizen scientists, through the format of Innovation Café to be held at the various demonstrators. The App will be released in early 2023.
The knowledge gap that we want to address with this project is how to make these energy communities become a reality and make them sustainable in time, which includes a sustainable legal scheme, economic scheme, etc. No one solution fits all but we hope the demonstrators in AURORA will inspire others to adopt similar approaches. We will also investigate how to incentivize the participation of citizens and changes in behaviour that reduce energy consumption. Last not but not least, with the knowledge gained from the project, we will better understand how the energy transition scenarios are impacted by social perspectives.
There are five demonstrators in AURORA, Aarhus University in Denmark, Évora University in Portugal, Forest of Dean District Council in the United Kingdom, the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, and the Technical University of Madrid in Spain.
Particularly young people and marginalised groups will be addressed in the project. The idea behind the project is to attract the interest of young people, who are more open to experimenting with apps and definitively committed to initiatives to fight against climate change, and who in the short term will become independent economically, and will make informed energy decisions because of their experience in AURORA project.
You find more detailed information about each demonstrator under the Demonstrators page. There you can also find contacts of the local energy communities.
Of course. There are multiple ways to be involved in the project, e.g., becoming an observer. If you would like to know more about it, drop an email to email@example.com, and we would be glad to discuss how the energy communities can be replicated in your area.
PSLifestyle aims to deeply engage with and mobilise citizens to close the action gap between climate awareness and individual action. PSLifestyle supports data-driven momentum for sustainable behaviour change in pilots in 8 European countries (Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia and Turkey). See PSLifestyle Website