On 10 July 2012, the European Commission launched a Smart Cities and Communities European Innovation Partnership (SCC) aiming to boost the development of smart technologies in cities, by pooling research resources from energy, transport and ICT and concentrating them on a small number of demonstration projects which will be implemented in partnership with cities. For 2013, 365 million euro will be invested in the demonstration of these types of urban technology solutions.

The Smart Cities and Communities Initiative was launched in 2011. In 2012, 81 million euro has been earmarked for this initiative, covering only two sectors: transport and energy. As from 2013, the budget has been increased from 81 million euro to 365 million euro, covering also the ICT field. In addition, each demonstration project financed under the scheme must combine all the three sectors.

With this Partnership, the EU will help to establish strategic partnerships between those industries and European cities to develop and roll out the urban systems and infrastructures of the future.

A High level group consisting of CEOs from R&D-intensive industries, city mayors, regulatory authorities and public financing institutions will be set up to support the successful implementation of this innovation partnership.

Under the Sustainable urban mobility theme (c.f. page 14 of the document) , the Commission refers to energy and fuelling infrastructure and the operation of vehicle fleets powered by alternative energy carriers for public transport, freight distribution, alternative transport options and private transport  using ICT-based solutions for  urban traffic and transport management supporting the reduction of energy consumption and emissions.

The communication mentions also the “use of smart electric vehicle charging systems and smart electricity grid networks, controlled by ICT; electric public transport vehicles that are able to exchange surplus energy with the energy system – using ICT to manage energy flows”.

It is also noteworthy that hydrogen is mentioned (c.f. page 14 of the document) as an “energy carrier for storing energy and balancing demand at city level for energy and stationary power – controlled by ICT using forecasts for demand patterns based on weather forecasts, event planning, vehicle route patterns, etc.”

“It is great that hydrogen is linked to energy storage in the EC communication. However, stored hydrogen can also be used in fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) or stationary FC systems,” highlighted EHA’s Executive Director Marieke Reijalt at the Communication launch event which took place today in Brussels.

During the same event, Fiat-Chrysler Research Center General Manager Stefano Re Fiorantin referred in his introduction to the car becoming part of the whole urban energy system.

The Smart cities communication can be consulted here.

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