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by Günther H. Oettinger| European Commissioner for Energy



             
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L’unione Europea si è posta un ambizioso obiettivo di lungo periodo: sviluppare un’economia realmente low carbon entro il 2050. Questo significa ridisegnare totalmente gli attuali sistemi energetici e dei trasporti. ovvero, produrre e utilizzare l’energia in modo più sostenibile, avendo come punto di riferimento la qualità della vita dei cittadini e - al contempo - la competitività della nostra economia. le città e le comunità urbane, che già oggi ospitano il 70 per cento della popolazione ue, dovranno avere un ruolo centrale nel promuovere il cambiamento. in un’ottica smart.
Molte delle componenti tecnologiche necessarie per ottenere una più efficiente gestione delle risorse energetiche e della mobilità sono già state sviluppati, ma sussiste il forte rischio di una frammentazione quando si tratta di introdurli in modo diffuso e coordinato. purtroppo ancora oggi, energia, trasporti e ICT sono spesso visti come realtà a sé stanti.
È vero che le singole città e regioni europee sono profondamente diverse tra di loro; ma è altrettanto vero che hanno in comune alcuni problemi (e obiettivi) chiave: sistemi di illuminazione, raffrescamento e riscaldamento ottimizzati, gestione del traffico e della mobilità, uso più efficiente della risorsa acqua, ottimizzazione del ciclo dei rifiuti… proprio le città possono diventare il luogo ideale dove applicare concretamente le più promettenti innovazioni riguardanti questi aspetti.
L’iniziativa Smart Cities and Communities può davvero favorire un cambio di rotta in questa direzione, potendo contare anche su importanti risorse economiche messe a disposizione dei programmi di ricerca e innovazione (oggi l’Fp7 e, a breve, Horizon 2020). Smart Cities and Communities vuole anche rappresentare una opportunità competitiva per le nostre industrie, alle quali sarà richiesto di offrire componenti e tecnologie ad alto valore aggiunto, indispensabili perché le città e le regioni europee possano davvero concretizzare questa svolta smart.
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The European Union has embarked on a long-term strategy to develop a low-carbon economy by 2050. To achieve decarbonisation, today's energy and transport system has to change radically. The EU has to produce and use energy in a much more sustainable way to preserve citizens' quality of life and provide a competitive edge to the industry.

Cities and urban communities have a crucial role to play in this process. About three quarters of the population in Europe live in or around urban areas, consuming 70 per cent of the EU energy and emitting about the same share of greenhouse gases. The trend towards urbanisation continues at European and global scale and risks increasing traffic congestion and pollution which, in extremis, can make cities dysfunctional, undermine competitiveness and seriously affect quality of life.

Many of the component technologies that can deliver intelligent and resource-efficient energy and transport management have already been developed but their scale-up in a fragmented market for energy, transport and ICT solutions is risky. If these smart tools were widespread across Europe, cities could optimise their electricity and heating & cooling system, their traffic management system, their water and waste system and use energy and resources more efficiently. If it is true that European cities and regions are different from each other, it is also true that they have similar needs and that an industrial region in Spain faces similar challenges as an industrial region in Romania. Developing technology options à la carte throughout Europe can allow the industry to deliver what cities and regions need, with better quality and at lower costs.

The Smart Cities and Communities initiative makes this possible. By integrating new technologies from the energy, transport and ICT sectors in the urban environment, it creates and accelerates the commercial deployment of products and services emerging from the integration of the three sectors. It catalyses the market entry of innovative and integrated energy and transport technologies and services, and enables ICT for urban applications, by learning from tested solutions and stimulating the convergence of the energy, transport and ICT fields. The EU is financing the Initiative mainly through the research and innovation programme (FP7 and in the future Horizon 2020). Grants will be allocated to innovation actions of the proposed projects. More commercially based actions can benefit from other instruments such as technical assistance (e.g. ELENA), the Risk-Sharing Financial Facility, the European Energy Efficiency Fund and other EU funds as appropriate. Pooling of research funds for the three sectors to maximise the co-financing available to integrated urban projects within Horizon 2020 will be fully explored. Market introduction of innovative services and new-technologies could also be stimulated by pre-commercial procurement.

The Initiative would finance for example projects optimising energy and transport in districts through modelling of flows, increasing the energy efficiency of neighbourhoods and districts of buildings improving energy supply and demand systems (electricity and heating and cooling through demand response, use of smart meters, balancing of the grid). As for transport, the Initiative would finance projects improving interconnections, inter-modal transport, public transport, lowcarbon vehicles. As for the ICT sector the cross-cutting applications for energy or transport sectors as well as the development of sustainable infrastructures in particular data centres and telecommunications equipment, including broadband are example of actions which can be envisaged for financial support.

Integrating energy, transport and information and communication technologies to provide new products and services for urban environments, sharing ideas and establishing best practice across cities and communities in Europe will give the necessary impetus and critical mass for a sustainable low carbon economy. Increasing the market opportunities for new energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies for new transport solutions based on the use of ICT will drive down costs to the extent that they will ready for mass production and use. European cities can become hubs for innovation. Local business, utilities, house owners, citizens associations, technology providers, financial institutions or research institutions, all will be able to contribute to the development and implementation of innovative energy and transport solutions.

The Smart Cities and Communities idea offers huge opportunities for the industry to deliver what cities and regions need. Industry players from different sectors will jointly develop solutions for a faster commercialisation of new urban technologies. Cities will be empowered to take their energy, transport and innovation destiny in their own hands. Citizens will profit from a better urban environment.

 
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