Multi City Pilot Activity: Modelling energy transition pathways in Pécs and Miskolc



Pécs and Miskolc aim to model energy transition options with a city centered approach and increase the carbon emission reduction potential by testing impact pathways to reach the net zero emission target by 2030.

The project focuses on the two main emitting sectors: stationary energy and transport.

Citizens (50 households and residents) will be engaged in the energy efficiency scheme, urban spatial planning, green surface planning, transport reduction measures, developing a zero-waste action plan and circular economy eco-system, training and awareness raising actions.

The development of local energy supply systems induces several system level barriers that the pilot project aims to address: the national level utilities and energy suppliers lack interest in supporting independent systems, neither regarding business dimension, nor organisational aspects. However,  developing independent local smart systems, where the main networks serve only as a security reserve, is a critical measure towards carbon neutrality. The adoption of smart systems needs a different accounting system, different business model, and modified regulatory background.

Smart solutions are backing the whole model of the pilot project. A smart data platform ensures the adoption of the most efficient and appropriate solutions. Smart electricity grids, building management system, and smart solutions for transport contributes to the provision of a complex solution using a place-based approach.

Description of Activities

The pilot project aims at testing the adaptability of a wide range of technologies for greening electricity and exchanging gas supply.

This requires focus on technological adaptability in the identified type of buildings that are the major bottleneck in the energy transition of the building sector, raising awareness of citizens on solutions where communities cooperate in favor of energy supply, policy initiatives regarding legal and regulatory background, and needs analyses on the business model and financial solutions to be applied.

The pilot activities include:

  • Strengthening climate neutrality governance structures through the Climate Platforms.
  • Piloting energy transition of the building sector in both cities through a digital technology-based management system and database.
  • Reducing motorised transport in the inner city with awareness raising campaigns, behavioural change activities, municipal measures testing zero-emission.
  • Enhancing climate resilience of green surface: aim to manage the remaining emissions by developing carbon sinks.
  • Developing circular economy and waste prevention models on a systemic level through construction material flow and biomass material flow.
  • Capacity building of local governments, communities, and other stakeholders to effectively plan, implement, and manage climate mitigation and adaptation strategies in urban areas.


To convert privately owned building stock on gas supply replacement (responsible for 50% of heating and cooling in both Hungarian Mission Cities) and the development of independent local smart electricity systems with a higher share of green and renewable energy.

Are cities building upon or part of a previous and/or existing activity?

Both cities have previous experiences in developing projects related to:

  • Mobility development activities aimed to improve sustainable modes of transportation
  • Energy development activities aimed to shift to sustainable, predictable, and renewable-based energy system
  • Waste management activities for the expansion of selective waste collection and biological waste treatment methods by Mecsek-Dráva waste management program
  • Urban development activities aimed to bring city services closer to citizens via participation in urban planning
  • R&I actions on waste, raw materials and virtual power plant programmes.

After assessing the outcomes of the abovementioned activities, both cities partnered in the pilot activity because of the:

  • Necessity to use a complex GIS system to plan efficient activities.
  • Both cities have significant renewable energy potential, the energy transition can be based on decentralised use of solar energy, biogas, and/or geothermal energy. Part of the solution is a plan to create an energy management system for the building stocks.

Which emissions domains will the pilot activity address?

  • Consumption of electricity generated for buildings, facilities, and infrastructure

  • Consumption of non-electricity energy for thermal uses in buildings and facilities (e.g., heating, cooking, etc.)

Systemic transformation – levers of change the pilot activities will exploit

  • Technology/Infrastructure 

  • Governance & Policy 

  • Democracy/Participation 

  • Data & Digitalisation

Stakeholder types that cities would like to engage in the pilot activities 

  • Academia

  • Citizens

  • Local NGO, Associations

Transferable features of pilot activities to a Twin City/ies 

  • Business model for energy transition of inner-city multi-story buildings in favor of exchange of gas focusing on smart systems, microgrid systems, local energy storage.
  • Business model for energy cooperative and positive energy district in a mixed-use area involving both residential and institutional actors.
  • Methodology on participatory planning and methodology to redesign traffic patterns which includes rethinking land use in inner city high traffic areas.
  • Eco-system building methodology for certain material flows (construction and biomass) including business model development.
  • Energy efficiency measure with involvement of citizens.
  • Developing an offsetting strategy based on green surface and sink capacity development involving innovative solutions like green roofs/ walls, greening of underutilised areas, greening of solar panel farms, greening of parking slots.
  • Green Advisory Office model – serving as a one-stop-shop for retrofitting the residential building stock – developing the service portfolio, training colleagues for advisory tasks.
  • Training and awareness raising materials related to climate resilient green surface, energy efficient homes.

This answer is not exhaustive and simply an indicative one.

Enabling conditions that will support the successful replication of your pilot activities in the Twin City 

  • A deep understanding of the local context including local climate challenges, vulnerabilities, and opportunities. A thorough assessment of its urban environment, including climate, infrastructure, and community needs, is essential.
  • Alignment of climate solutions with existing policies, regulations, and legal frameworks in the receiving city. Any necessary adjustments or new policies should be identified and addressed.
  • Confirm that the technological solutions being transferred are compatible with the receiving city’s infrastructure and technology systems. Integration and scalability are essential considerations.
  • Potential to mobilise private capital, where self-propagating development processes can be initiated, and where there is a strong focus on the inclusion, preparation and support of disadvantaged groups.
  • Building stock with high retrofit need, in case of developing energy systems (energy cooperatives, PEDs) the upgrading of building energy efficiency should also be considered.

This answer is not exhaustive and simply an indicative one.

What do cities want to learn from Twin City/ies? 

  • Efficient data management and information system on energy and climate, focusing on the building stock, data modelling, emission modelling approaches.
  • Good practices for one-stop-shop energy efficiency offices, what is the optimal service portfolio of these offices, are these run directly by the municipality, how can citizens be engaged.
  • Fostering modal shift from cars to active mobility, understanding the attitude and behavioural patterns of the citizens, understanding the timely and spatial pattern of the special use of the city, what are the prerequisites for defining a zero-carbon zone, how it can be introduced.
  • Accelerating residential energy efficiency renovations, package solutions, financial constructions, potential measures by the municipality.
  • Developing climate resilient green surfaces, how can the municipality integrate climate resilience into its BAU scenario, how can Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) be integrated, good approaches for citizen engagement.

This answer is not exhaustive and simply an indicative one.