Cascais, Portugal

Social Neighbourhood as an Active Energy Community

Cascais is a small city composed of different urban centres along the coast in a continuous urban sprawl. The city has a comprehensive sustainability and climate action policy, confirmed by amongst others the SEAP Cascais 2030 and Local Sustainable Energy Plan. The Demo neighbourhood ‘Bairro da Galiza/ Novo do Pinhal’ is dominated by social housing occupied by disadvantaged communities. The area is characterized by low economic activity and unqualified employment. The built form of the neighbourhood is homogenous and the composition of social housing blocks with local school/kindergarten represents a common form of urban fabric that repeats itself throughout the city.

Demo Objectives (DO)

DO1 Understanding of local challenges, needs, motivations, and contextualization - Deep analysis of the Demo regarding social, technical, and economic aspects. Characterization of the buildings and energy flows in the social housing neighbourhood, the residents’ quality of life, evaluation of the energy poverty level.
DO2 Define a regeneration model for the Socially Inclusive Decarbonization of the neighbourhood - This model includes approaches and solutions based on social and technological innovation that aim to turn social housing neighbourhoods into active Citizen’ Energy Communities (CEC). 
DO3 Sustainable services and decision making - Use and adopt Digital Twin to support data management/sharing (integrating local, social, economic and energy data) and decision making.
DO4 Citizen at the heart of the energy transition - Co-create with citizens through participatory planning processes including innovative governance model, decision- making procedures and digital applications. Incorporating citizens in the central city planning by providing them showcases with the Digital Twin. Social equality and cognitive change will be stimulated through constant awareness local workshops. 
DO5 Contribute to European and National policies - Contribute to the EU Solar Energy Strategy and the goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 as well as national policies on PV self-consumption systems and Citizen Energy Communities (CEC).
DO6 Cluster and cooperate with other relevant EU projects at the local level in Cascais. 

List of proposed actions based on the analysis of the local challenges

1. Contextualization planning, impact assessment of the intervention measures.
2. Evaluation of energy poverty level through survey and socio-economic-demographic characteristics analysis. Evaluation of the built environment quality and indoor comfort conditions.
3. Implement an active citizen energy community in the neighbourhood with a customised smart energy metering and management platform that allows the sharing of energy between 'prosumers', working as an urban energy lab.
4. Develop and test the use of Digital Twins (e.g., PEDRERA and immersive models) in assessing the potential of creating a citizen energy community in the neighbourhood. 
5. Promote campaigns for awareness raising and capacity building of citizens about multi-benefits of sustainable, inclusive and accessible neighbourhoods incl. gaming.
6. Replicate the regeneration model towards all social neighbourhoods in Cascais as well as the Lisbon Metropolitan Area in collaboration with other 17 municipalities.
5250 inhabitants (many facing energy poverty) will benefit from being a part of the citizen energy community created in the project, which offers the access to cleaner energy at a lower and more stable prices. The reduced reliance on fossil fuels will lead to a lower carbon footprint lifestyle.