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Commission launches innovation partnership for Smart Cities and Communities. 2012-07-27 - No Comments

One of the biggest challenges that Europe is facing is to design and adapt cities into smart, intelligent and sustainable environments. The facts are that:

  • Cities create some 80% of the EU's gross domestic product with their concentration of trade, business and "people expertise". Cities are a driving force in generating Europe's economic growth.
  • They will become even more important as the proportion of Europeans living in urban areas grows from just over two-thirds today to a forecast 85% by 2050.
  • 68% of the EU population lives in urban areas, which consume 70% of energy. This accounts for 75% of the EU's total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).
  • The information and communications technology (ICT) sector will require more and more electricity by 2020.
  • Urban transport is responsible for one-quarter of all the emissions from road transport.
  • Congestion costs Europe about 1% of GDP every year – most of if it from urban areas.

In this context, the Smart Cities and Communities Initiative was launched in 2011 with aim to combine diverse technologies to increase the efficiency of how a city functions. The initiative covered the transport and energy sector in 2012 with a budget of 81 million Euros to projects that had to cover one of the two sectors (rather than combining the two of them). On 10 July 2012, The European Commission launched the Smart Cities and Communities European Innovation Partnership. Starting from 2013, funding will rise to 365 million and will cover three areas: energy, transport and ICT (Information and Communication Technology). From 2013, the projects financed under the scheme must combine the three areas in all projects.


Kind of projects that could be co-financed:

  • Smart buildings and neighbourhood projects: it could be projects that support nearly zero-energy buildings or the integration and management of local and renewable energy sources.
  • Smart supply and demand services projects: projects that could provide data and information to citizens on energy consumption/production.
  • Urban mobility projects: as an example, it could be electric public transport vehicles that are able to exchange surplus energy (braking and accelerating energy) with energy system) or using ICT to manage energy flows.
  • Smart and sustainable digital infrastructures: a project could be reducing the carbon footprint of the internet or intelligent heating, cooling and lighting solutions.

The call for proposal will be open to industry-led consortia operating in energy, ICT and transport. The consortia will need to include partners coming from three different Member States and/or Associated Countries teaming up with at least two cities. The project presented must be market-oriented and replicable in different countries. Participants will have a few months to propose their projects which will be evaluated by the European commission.

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