Stockholm is to join the growing list of European cities trialling smart grid technology following an agreement between electrical engineering giant ABB and utility Fortum.

The two companies have started working on a joint development project that will design an install an advanced, flexible power grid incorporating energy storage systems and local power generation technologies into a new district in the city of Stockholm.

The project is part of wider plans to reduce emissions in the Swedish capital by two-thirds by 2020 and is described by ABB as a “big step forward” in the development of smart, flexible urban grids. It is also one of 16 global projects being supported by the Clinton Climate Initiative Program for sustainable urban growth.

The project will involve the installation of smart grid technologies in the Stockholm Royal Seaport area. The new district will have 10 000 homes and 30 000 office spaces.

“The ambitious environmental targets for the district and Sweden’s national targets of increasing the production from renewable energy sources with 25 TWh by 2020 make micro production and smart electricity grids important components in the effort to reduce CO2 emissions,” said Per Langer of Fortum Sweden. “This R&D project enables us to further test new technologies on a large scale and to receive direct feedback from the district’s residents.”

Fortum and ABB say that the project will enhance public awareness of energy efficient housing, local renewable electricity production, smart electricity grid design, energy storage and the need to adjust regulation and create new market prerequisites.

“I see Stockholm Royal Seaport as an important step in our efforts to find common solutions for cities to achieve environmental targets. We can now develop and test new technical solutions for the electricity grids of the future in an authentic environment,” said Sten Jakobsson, CEO of ABB in Sweden.

Fortum and ABB will develop a variety of solutions to ensure that excess power generated from renewable energy sources in the district can be fed into the power grid and to enable electric vehicles to draw electricity from the grid or feed it back in. The grid will also be designed to provide flexibility and transparency and to store energy generated by sources such as rooftop solar panels.