Speaking to more than 400 representatives of cities, business, the financial sector and research institutions, EU Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger launched the EU's new Smart Cities and Communities Initiative.
"The time is right for smart cities and communities: Cities and industry partners are eager to develop integrated sustainable solutions that offer clean, secure and affordable energy to citizens, reduce consumption and create new markets – in Europe and beyond. With the Smart Cities and Communities Initiative, the EU is kick- starting these new markets with an initial funding of EUR 80 million to support 6 to 12 innovative model projects in selected European cities (from 30.000 inhabitants)." Commissioner Oettinger explained at the launch. He added that "Cities are key to the EU's objectives of 20% energy saving by 2020 and to developing a low carbon economy by 2050, because 70% of the EU's energy is consumed in cities. They have a huge potential for energy saving through smarter use of resources and intelligent technology integration."
In an FP7 call to be opened on 19 July this year, teams of cities and industry partners can apply for EU-funding in three main fields:
- Energy: energy in cities, energy networks, buildings, supply technologies - including heating & cooling systems,
- ICT as a motor across all of these – cross-cutting related to energy or transport (e.g. ITS).
Next steps of the initiative:
- 7 July: FP7 Energy Information Day including Smart Cities topics, Brussels.
- 19 July: First calls for proposals open.
- 2nd half 2011: Establishing the Stakeholder Platform
- 28-29 November 2011: SET-Plan conference in Warsaw
- 1 December 2011: Closure of calls
- Jan-Feb 2012: Evaluation of call proposals
- Summer 2012 (probably): Start of Projects.