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Synergizing Sustainability: Smart Strategies for Enhancing Energy, Economic, Environmental, and Social Performance in Residential and Industrial Renewable Energy Communities

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "C: Energy Economics and Policy".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 1179

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Department of Engineering and Architecture, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy
Interests: renewables; distributed generation; photovoltaics; e-mobility
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Engineering and Architecture, and Center for Energy, Environment and Transport Giacomo Ciamician, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy
Interests: PV faults classification and detection; Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G); energy management systems (EMS); power converters control; optimization and control techniques in energy systems

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Guest Editor
Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy
Interests: EMI filters modelling; electronic power converters modelling and control; conducted emissions (CE) evaluation and prediction, advanced control and optimization techniques in power systems; hybrid AC/DC distribution systems; power quality and reliability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Considering the world's most pressing environmental issues and the urgency for effective solutions, Renewable Energy Communities (RECs) have been proposed as the new building block of tomorrow's sustainable energy infrastructure. A REC typically refers to a group of individuals, enterprises, and/or private and public organizations that collaborate to develop, manage, and benefit from renewable energy sources within a specific community or geographical area. The primary objective of a REC is to promote the utilization of renewable energy sources, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, relieve the distribution system from congestion due to distributed generation, and contribute to enhanced sustainability. In this context, the concept of sustainability is not limited to aspects of energy, but also addresses economic, environmental (3E concept), and social aspects, with an overall aim to synergise sustainability. Innovative strategies embody a forward-looking and adaptive approach that recognises the interconnection of these aspects, and seeks to leverage a synergetic approach for a more sustainable and resilient future. Within this context, this Special Issue welcomes original, high-quality research papers, reviews and case studies that contribute to research on innovative applications in residential and industrial RECs with the aim of enhancing the 3E and social aspect. Covering a broad spectrum of interdisciplinary perspectives, potential topics include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Residential and Industrial-Scale Renewable Energy Integration: exploring the effective integration of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro and emerging technologies in both residential and industrial frameworks.
  • Hydrogen as an Energy Vector: examining the use of hydrogen in RECs as a key player in the decarbonisation of energy systems and industrial processes, analysing its role in balancing intermittent renewables, improving energy storage capacities, and facilitating the transition to a hydrogen-based economy.
  • Smart Energy Management based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): exploring the combined application of intelligent energy management systems (IEMS), including AI and ML, aimed at optimal resource utilization, enhanced energy efficiency, and reduced costs in RECs.
  • Energy Consumption and Production Forecasting: investigating how innovative approaches, including AI and ML, can be employed to develop robust predictive models for energy production and consumption within RECs. Examining the accuracy of forecasting methods, their adaptability to everchanging conditions, and their role in facilitating proactive energy management.
  • Economic and Environmental Sustainability: assessing the economic impact of sustainable practices within RECs, examining business models and cost-effectiveness, and investigating the environmental benefits of adopting renewable energy solutions, including a reduction in carbon footprints.
  • Technological Innovations: showcasing novel technologies and innovations that contribute to the holistic sustainability of residential and industrial RECs.

Prof. Dr. Alessandro Massi Pavan
Dr. Nicola Blasuttigh
Dr. Simone Negri
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • renewable energy communities (REC)
  • energy transition
  • smart energy management
  • renewable energy
  • 3E sustainability

Published Papers (1 paper)

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19 pages, 3225 KiB  
Reinforcement Learning for Energy Community Management: A European-Scale Study
by Giulia Palma, Leonardo Guiducci, Marta Stentati, Antonio Rizzo and Simone Paoletti
Energies 2024, 17(5), 1249; https://doi.org/10.3390/en17051249 - 6 Mar 2024
Viewed by 890
Efficient management of renewable energy resources is imperative for promoting environmental sustainability and optimizing the utilization of clean energy sources. This paper presents a pioneering European-scale study on energy management within renewable energy communities (RECs). With a primary focus on enhancing the social [...] Read more.
Efficient management of renewable energy resources is imperative for promoting environmental sustainability and optimizing the utilization of clean energy sources. This paper presents a pioneering European-scale study on energy management within renewable energy communities (RECs). With a primary focus on enhancing the social welfare of the community, we introduce a reinforcement learning (RL) controller designed to strategically manage Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESSs) and orchestrate energy flows. This research transcends geographical boundaries by conducting an extended analysis of various energy communities and diverse energy markets across Europe, encompassing different regions of Italy. Our methodology involves the implementation of an RL controller, leveraging optimal control theory for training and utilizing only real-time data available at the current time step during the test phase. Through simulations conducted in diverse contexts, we demonstrate the superior performance of our RL agent compared to a state-of-the-art rule-based controller. The agent exhibits remarkable adaptability to various scenarios, consistently surpassing existing rule-based controllers. Notably, we illustrate that our approach aligns with the intricate patterns observed in both Italian and European energy markets, achieving performance levels comparable to an optimal controller assuming perfect theoretical knowledge of future data. Full article
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