EU launches Smart Cities and Communities Initiative

22 June 2011

BRUSSELS: On Tuesday Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger launched the EU's Smart Cities and Communities initiative at a high level conference in Brussels.

The conference brought together high-profile speakers and attendees from sectors including energy and ICT, as well as experts from academia, financial institutions and the EU; the influential leaders needed to integrate large-scale clean technologies to Europe's cities.

Here, the attendees learned about how the Initiative will create business opportunities, saw similar examples in cities from around the world and formed partnerships ahead of the forthcoming Smart Cities and Communities Call.

The Smart Cities and Communities Initiative sets out to tackle the fact that 70% of the energy consumed in the EU comes from urban areas, regions which are responsible for producing an almost equal amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

As three quarters of the EU’s population live in or around cities, it’s vital that innovative integration of low energy - or ‘smart’ systems - is put in place.

Cities that pilot these smart systems will save money, by cutting energy use and invigorating the creation of jobs. The new technologies will also boost entrepreneurship, clean air, and a higher quality of life.

Its first stage will deliver total funding of €80m to low carbon and energy efficient projects in urban areas.

A call for proposals to be made on 19 July will run until 1 December. Projects are expected to start in mid-2012 following an evaluation at the beginning of the year, and EU funds will come from the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

Luc Bas, Director of European Programs, The Climate Group says: "This conference proved again that a lot of European cities and local communities are already developing smart and integrated solutions to improve urban development but it is clear that this needs to happen a lot faster and with many more large scale projects. This recent initiative may well be the trigger to accelerate the necessary investments and bold policy decisions needed for our cities to join the Clean Revolution."

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