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REPLICATE Site San Sebastian

Country & City

  • Spain
  • San Sebastian


Contact Information

The Spanish city of San Sebastian has 186 062 inhabitants and was voted European Capital of Culture 2016. It is a touristic and commercial centre with strong emphasis on services and events. In recent years, San Sebastián has become one of the leading European cities in the context of smart and sustainable cities, largely because of its commitment to science, technology, economic development, sustainability and culture.  The city is also an internationally recognized culinary destination. 

San Sebastian  has an integrated smart city strategy with the particular objective of becoming a nearly zero-energy city. San Sebastian wants to enhance the transition process to a smart city in three areas: energy efficiency, sustainable mobility and ICT infrastructures.

* Detailed information regarding the technical and financial performance will be available at a later stage.

The REPLICATE team is working to accelerate the deployment of innovative technologies, and organisational and economic solutions to significantly increase resource and energy efficiency, improve the sustainability of urban transport, and drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in urban areas. Therefore, the project aims to enhance the transition process to a smart city with the following:

  • energy efficiency: achieve energy savings in relation to the existing situation in retrofitting buildings and in district heating;
  • sustainable mobility: integrate sustainable electric vehicles, recharging systems and an Information Mobility System;
  • integrated ICT infrastructures: develop new sustainable and cost-effective services to citizens providing integrated infrastructures that improve efficiencies in the use of local public resources and the delivery of public services

Regulatory & Administrative

Regulatory & Administrative
Encountered barriers

In Spain, the Royal Decree-Act 1/2012 entered into effect, suspending procedures for the pre-allocation of payments and suppressing economic incentives for new power generation installations based on cogeneration, renewable energy sources and waste. However, section 3.3 of the aforementioned Royal Decree-Act states that a new specific regime will be developed for power generation installations that use biomass, waste and cogeneration technologies.

As a result of this legislative change, some systems based on cogeneration are contemplating the prospect of not maintaining their installations. Hence, the waste heat that could be reused or is reused in other energy systems is not guaranteed and a project cannot be based on a model of recovering waste heat that has been called into question. In the San Sebastian pilot this legislative change has been taken into account to avoid potential problems related to reusing waste energy originated by cogeneration. As a result, self-sufficient projects should be considered as the main options.


Local regulations and licences cause changes in the design of different implementations. In some cases, the licences need much more time to be managed because they involve various public administrations.

Local regulations and licences should be analysed and taken into account from the very beginning of the project in order to design the implementations in accordance with the rules and avoid delays.


The city of San Sebastian has historical buildings and areas covered by special protection, as well as protected green landscapes. Restrictions in some cases can be high.

It is important to know which areas are affected by special protection and to plan accordingly to avoid problems during the project implementation.

Best Practices

Best Practices



The REPLICATE project will develop a demand-side platform to allow residents to monitor how they are using their heating and to understand better how savings can be achieved. The residents will have the opportunity to learn about energy consumption and change their behaviour so as to reduce their energy bills and be more efficient.


Almost 200 people participated in the definition of the Smart City Plan and an Action Plan in San Sebastian for 2016-2020. A review of the plan will take place in 2018 and stakeholder participation is foreseen. 


With regards to the retrofitting intervention in San Sebastian, the team has been in contact with the owners’ association since the early stages of the project to present and explain the proposal with the aim of engaging tenants and owners. Particularly important was to demonstrate that the municipality is an active part of the project, thus providing a form of reassurance and guarantee. As a result, the owners’ association signed a letter of commitment that was submitted with the proposal.

During and after the implementation, the engagement process will be intensified. The owners’ association will provide in-depth information about the financial and environmental benefits of the project to the owners and tenants. In addition, the municipality will have an open information point for all questions that can arise.





The district heating installation is part of a major urban development in the neighbourhood, and obtaining the public and private funding to start the urban development was complicated. However, this initial financial risk has been overcome.


* Detailed information regarding the technical and financial performance will be available at a later stage.

The solutions demonstrated in San Sebastian include:

Energy efficiency in buildings

  • Retrofitting the building envelope
    • 156 dwellings and 34 commercial premises spread over 18 350 m²

Energy systems integration

  • District heating and cooling
    • District heating system to give service to more than 1500 new properties and 156 existing dwellings. The system is fired by a power plant with 7400 kW of power and two 1400 kW biomass boilers. It will lead to a reduction of 35% in primary energy consumption, where 90% of this energy is renewable, and 85 % reduction of CO2 emissions.
  • Biomass boilers
  • Smart street lighting
Mobility & transport: 
  • Electric, hybrid and clean vehicles
    • 2 full electric and 2 hybrid buses for line 26, linking the district with the city centre
    • Public electric vehicle acquisition – 4 e-cars and 6 e-motos for the municipal fleet
    • Private electric vehicles: 12 e-taxis, 5 vehicles for the distribution fleet, as well as 12 vehicles and 20 e-motos
    • Charging infrastructure deployed in the city
  • Neighbourhood energy management system
    • A demand side platform will be developed for the monitoring of residents’ consumption to foster sustainable behaviour
  • Urban data platform
    • Smart city platform with integrated services: open data and citizen participation services, IP services deployment in Poligono 27 and high-speed connectivity network deployment for the whole city.
  • Travel demand management
    • Mobility smart city platform and development of advanced mobility services
  • Traffic control system

SRT data