SmartEnCity General Assembly and Review Meeting 2019

06 Jun 2019

Last month, the SmartEnCity project partners met in Lighthouse City Tartu for their General Assembly from 7-9 May and in Brussels for their second Review Meeting with INEA on 21 May. Both meetings were very successfull and resulted in numerous productive outcomes and ideas for the future.

From 7-9 May, the SmartEnCity project partners packed their bags and headed towards the Baltic States to reunite in their Lighthouse City Tartu, Estonia. Being very lucky with the weather, we spend three days in the city centre of Tartu to update each other about the status of implementations in Tartu, Sonderborg and Vitoria-Gasteiz as well as the replication progress in Asenovgrad and Lecce.

With the second Review Meeting coming up, the focus of this meeting, of course, was on revising and discussing once more the contents of the second report. The first day of our General Assembly, 7 May, thus started with an introduction by project coordinator Francisco Rodríguez Pérez-Curiel from TECNALIA Research & Innovation. We then delved right into the different work packages: Alberto Ortiz De Elgea Olasolo from VISESA, Raimond Tamm from the City of Tartu and Iben Nielsen from Sønderborg Forsyning talked about what's been going on in their respective Lighthouse Cities during the past 18 months. The afternoon was filled with updates from our monitoring and replication work packages. The day was rounded off with a visit to the Estonian National Museum. Here, we received an interactive and engaging guided tour. The cherry on top, though, was the surprise concert by Raimond Tamm and his "Academic Choir of Emajoe" with a nice selection of Estonian folk songs about love and longing. It was a splendid glimpse into Estonian culture and we really appreciated this unexpected surprise!

Surprise performance of Academic Choir of Emajoe (Picture: Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum)

Day 2 of our General Assembly, 8 May, focused on presentations about the SmartEnCity Regeneration Strategy, our City Information Open Platform (CIOP) and updates from the Dissemination, Communication & Exploitation work package.

As it is tradition for any visit to a demo site, we were then headed off to a walking tour through the demo districts of Tartu. Here, we learned a lot not only about the innovative implementations thanks to SmartEnCity project, but also about Estonia and life in this part of the world. It was really interesting! Some of the highlights were the local e-bike sharing system built by a Canadian company with 500 electric and 250 normal bikes and 69 docking stations across Tartu. The bikes are free to use (for up to 1 hour) to anybody holding a bus pass. What a great role model for cities across the world and a further step into the right direction to reduce CO2 emissions! The next stop was a quick charger for e-vehicles where you can charge your car with enough energy for 500 km in only 20 minutes. At the local district heating and cooling plant run by Fortum Tartu we learned how cold water, cooled by ordinary chillers and the river outside, goes out to the customers, comes back warmer and is then - naturally - reused for heating. Additional heat is produced with the help of local biomass and PVs on top of the plant. The final stop of our walking tour were the 'Smartovkas' as they call them: Khrushchev-era residential buildings in Tartu are being retrofitted to make them 'smarter'. To make sure that everybody sees this change at first sight, selected artists paint the buildings at the end of the process.

Retrofitted residential buildings in Tartu (Picture: Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum)

Inside Fortum Tartu's District Heating & Cooling Plant (Picture: Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum)

On day 3, the SmartEnCity project partners gathered one last time in Tartu to meet for a replication workshop and to work on their city assessment methodology.

Replication workshop on day 3 (Picture: Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum)

A couple of weeks later, work package leaders and selected project partners met again in Brussels, on 21 May, to present the current status of the project and the main achievements of the last 18 months to our Project Officer Manuela Conconi from the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) and external reviewer Oscar Lázaro from Innovalia Group. The meeting was a great success! We received valuable comments from the reviewers and are now looking ahead to the next project phase of SmartEnCity. Stay with us to follow us on this journey and to observe how we will be reaching our CO2 goals in the future!


Review Meeting in Brussels on 21 May (Picture: Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum)