EU funding to spur Smart communities
The European Union (EU) is providing funding for lighthouse projects to trailblaze tomorrow’s Smart communities.
An EU call for projects that combine innovations in energy efficiency, buildings, transport and information technology, as the foundations of Smart communities, will be launched on October 4, 2016.
Funding of EUR 12-18 per project over 5 years from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, will go to projects that have solid business plans, real impact on communities and replication potential in other EU member states.
To be eligible, a minimum of three cities in different EU member states and three ‘follower’ cities in different EU member states must form a consortium. The deadline for lighthouse project submissions is 14 February, 2017.
The lighthouse projects fund innovations to transform agglomerations such as the smart integration of the electricity grid with renewable sources, innovations in building management to facilitate integration with local energy systems, economic research to develop highly innovative approaches and to test integrated business models and to refine business replication plans.
Lighthouse projects do not fund construction and installation costs such as the windows and heat pumps for buildings, electric cars and ICT tools.
“We are not specifically looking for technological contributions. It is your freedom and responsibility to come up with new ways of doing things; contributing and implementing them – that is innovation,” said Jens Bartholmes, Policy Officer for new energy technologies, innovation and clean coal at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Energy.
Those applying must also have Energy Sustainability Action Plans in place – preferably endorsed by the EU’s Covenant of Mayors. The Covenant of Mayors is an EU initiative for climate change that for Climate & Energy bringing together thousands of local and regional authorities who commit on a voluntary basis to implement the EU’s climate and energy objectives on their territory.
Signatories pledge to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030 and to adopt an integrated approach to tackling mitigation and adaptation to climate change.