100% local renewable energy for Malmö
by R Fabry, DG Energy and Transport, the European Commission, and H Roberts, Environmental Manager, the European Housing Expo, Sweden

A whole new district, including a large residential area, is to be built in the Western Harbour area of Malmö, Sweden. A major project, funded by the European Commission, is in place to reduce the environmental impact of meeting the new district’s energy demands.

Model  of the City of Tomorrow.  Model: Cecilia Waxberg; Photograph: Gunnar Nydrn

The SURE/RESECO project

SURE/RESECO1 is co-funded under the European Union’s 5th Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration (FP5)2. Malmö is the coordinator of the EC demonstration project in which several other European cities and organisations also participate.

The project also forms part of the Campaign for Take-Off – an initiative to accelerate the uptake of renewables in the European Union by 20033.

In Malmö, SURE/RESECO aims to:

  • meet 100% of the new district’s energy needs from renewable energy sources, by providing innovative energy generation plant and distribution systems;
  • combine appropriate technologies, for example, solar and wind production units, together with a heat pump and an aquifer storage system, to produce clean heat and electricity cost-effectively;
  • present the benefits of synergy by linking Malmö’s existing electricity and district heating systems with the local energy system;
  • establish a partnership between architects and builders during the design process of the new buildings to ensure that energy efficiency is a key focus and that active solar energy systems are integrated into the plans.

 A major showcase for demonstrating renewable energy, this “City of Tomorrow” will include 700 homes in a mixture of detached, terraced and apartment houses, together with offices, shops and other services. A canal, a harbour, a promenade, covered walkways, meeting areas and two parks will all be included in the development close to the centre of Malmö. The new district will be the focus of the European Housing Expo – Bo01: “The City of Tomorrow in the ecologically sustainable information and welfare society”4.

100% renewables

Supplying the 11GWh/year of energy that the new district will need without any increase in damaging emissions is a major challenge for the energy supplier Sydkraft. All the homes in the residential development will use electricity supplied by local renewable energy sources. A 2 MW wind turbine and about 120 m2 of photovoltaic (PV) cells, connected to the grid, will meet the area’s electricity demand. They will also power a heat pump, which will draw heat from underground aquifers to meet about 83% of the district heating needs. The same aquifer system will store cold in winter and provide free cooling in summer. Of the remaining heat demand, 15% will be met by about 2,000 m2 of solar collectors. Biogas produced from local waste will produce the other 2% of the heat required.

All of the solar equipment will be owned, operated and maintained by Sydkraft, which will work closely with the architects and builders to integrate the solar collectors and PV cells on roofs and frontages in a visually-pleasing way. This novel approach is intended to boost the confidence of residents in renewables by challenging negative perceptions of their aesthetic appeal and providing trouble-free performance.

Energy balance

One of the main problems associated with renewable energy is that it cannot always be produced when it is needed. In Malmö, this problem will be overcome by connecting the renewable energy sources, through a local grid, to the city’s existing distribution system. In this way, the larger grid acts as an accumulator, eliminating the need for large-scale energy storage equipment and making the best use of existing investment. Over a year, the new district’s energy production and consumption should balance. Although linked to the city’s heating network, the local district heating system is designed for a lower temperature to maximise the energy gain from the solar collectors.

Integrated management

Another innovative feature of the “City of Tomorrow” is the integrated approach to its creation. The target of 100% renewable energy demands that energy is used as efficiently as possible. Buildings will be designed to require extremely low levels of energy for heating and energy efficiency will be a key consideration when purchasing electrical equipment. The design of both buildings and energy systems will be integrated under one management strategy, with quality control throughout the process to ensure that energy efficiency goals are met without compromising comfort.

Information technology will be used not only to regulate the different elements of the energy systems, but also to inform the residents about their energy consumption and allow them a degree of control over their energy management and comfort settings. Interactive systems will be a key factor in influencing energy consumption patterns.

How the various energy systems work together.
From an illustration by Sydkraft

Beyond Malmö

Throughout the project development, its results and achievemnets will be disseminated to the public. High profile workshops will be held in Malmö (2000), Copenhagen (2001) and Dublin (2002), while a final conference will be organised in 2003 to present the results of the project.

The project will be a source of knowledge and experience for similar development projects around the world and, through the European Housing Expo, it will provide an international shop window for renewable energy products and services. If the concepts that apply in Malmö were to be taken up more widely, economic growth and competitiveness within the European renewable energy sector could see a significant increase.

For more information contact Hanna Roberts,
Bo01 City of Tomorrow.
Tel: + 46 40 51 20 04; Fax: + 46 40 51 20 20;
Web site:

1 SURE – Sustainable Urban Revitalisation of Europe. RESECO – RES Energy Concept. RES – Renewable Energy Sources.

2 More information on FP5 is available on the Web site at www.cordis.lu/fp5/home.html

3 The partners in the EC Sure/reseco project are: the Cities of Malmö, Dublin, Tallinn and Barcelona; Copenhagen Energy; Sydkraft AB; Bo01 – City of Tomorrow; Danish Technological Institute; and Dublin CODEMA Energy Management Agency. The three Swedish partners also participate in the Campaign for Take-Off project, together with Lund University and the Swedish National Energy Administration.

4 The European Housing Expo will take place in Malmö from 17 May until 16 September 2001.  More information is available on the Web site at www.bo01.com

The CADDET Renewable Energy Newsletter is a quarterly magazine published by  the CADDET Centre for Renewable Energy at ETSU, UK.

The articles published in the Newsletter reflect the opinions of the authors.  They do not necessarily reflect the official view of CADDET.

Enquiries concerning the Newsletter should be addressed to Pauline Toole, Editor, CADDET Centre for  Renewable Energy, ETSU, Harwell, Oxfordshire OX11 0RA, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 1235 432968, Fax: +44 1235 433595.