Smart Cities and Communities Initiative

Review of international regulations Electrical Efficiency
  • Issue

The European Commission launched on 21 June 2011 the Smart Cities and Communities Initiative as part of the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan). The initiative is designed to make European cities drivers of innovation in the field of energy technologies and to support them in their efforts towards the reduction of their greenhouse gases emissions.

  • Challenges

→ Make European Cities drivers of innovation in the field of energy

The Smart Cities and Communities Initiative is designed to address the challenges faced by cities in the field of energy and sustainable development. It aims at supporting European cities in their efforts towards the implementation of innovative measures to accelerate the deployment of low carbon technologies on their territory.

→ Bringing together stakeholders

The initiative is designed to bring together all stakeholders (European institutions, the industry, municipalities, banks, etc.) and to involve them in the monitoring of the progress of the initiative. A  Smart Cities Stakeholders Platform should be launched by the European Commission in the next months to facilitate the dialogue and the exchange of knowledge between stakeholders, and between stakeholders and the European Commission.

→ Supporting the development of projects with high replication potential

The Smart Cities and Communities Initiative aims at supporting European Cities faced with common challenges and similar ambitions in the development of innovative solutions with a high replication potential in a ten-years perspective. The objective of the Commission is to set up an initiative with a strong EU-wide impact, and enabling the creation of industrial markets. The stakeholders platform should in particular aim at identifying barriers and obstacles to the large-scale market deployment of low carbon technologies in order to reach a critical mass.

  • The main features of the projects

The call for proposals specifically dedicated to Smart Cities and Communities was published on 20 July 2011 by the European Commission, in the frame of the Energy Theme of the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Development (FP7). It aims at supporting projects developed by European municipalities in this field through EU funding. 40 million euro will be available in the frame of this call.

→ Encouraging a horizontal and holistic approach

Projects funded under the FP7 should involve a broad range of private and public actors: the industry will play a leading role, while municipalities will give orientations and provide assistance in the implementation of projects on their territory. Projects should answer to common challenges and be embedded in comprehensive urban planning. Banks should also be involved in the process.

→ Making energy efficiency a priority

Projects should give prority to energy efficiency. Further aspects linked to energy should also be addressed, like energy networks, renewable energy production as well as other urban issues in the area of electricity, heating and cooling, transport, efficient waste collection, treatment, recycling and energy use; however, these projects should not take place at the expense of energy efficiency.

→ Putting urban planning and heating and cooling in the foreground

The FP7 call for proposals identifies two actions that could lead to a project, and that could be adressed on their own or in combination with each other:

-          The development of a strategic sustainable planning covering the whole city districts and communities and addressing energy efficiency in all sectors ; this includes renovation of the building stock, efficient transportation and mobility systems, energy systems, electricity smart grids, efficient water networks and use, efficient waste collection, treatment, recycling and energy use, promotion of efficient vehicles ;

-          The development of large-scale systems for urban area heating and/or cooling supply.

  • Next steps

The FP7 call for proposals dedicated to Smart Cities & Communities will close on 1 December 2011; the evaluation of call proposals should take place in January/February 2012, leading to thestart of projects in Summer 2012.

In parallel to the FP7 call, the Commission will launch by the end of 2011 the Smart Cities Stakeholders Platform.

  • Useful links

Website of Directorate-General for Energy (European Commission)

Website of Directorate-General for Research & Innovation (European Commission)

Download Rexel_International_Regulation_Review_august 2011

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