SmartEnCity Final Conference on 14-15 June in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain

Succesful ending of a successful project: SmartEnCity was celebrating its Final Conference

17 Jun 2022

On 14 and 15 June, SmartEnCity project was celebrating its Final Conference at the EUROPA CONGRESS PALACE, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. More than 120 particpants attended the event over the two days and experienced interesting panels and speakers, discussing about results of SmartEnCity project and plans towards a carbon-free future.

On 14 June, the Final Conference started with welcoming words from Gorka Urtaran, Mayor of Vitoria-Gasteiz; Pedro Javier Jauregui, Deputy Regional Minister of Territorial Planning, Housing and Transport, Basque Government and Francisco Rodríguez Pérez-Curiel, Project coordinator, SmartEnCity project, Project Director Innovation in Smart Sustainable Cities & Urban Environment, TECNALIA Research & Innovation.

The Keynote speeches of Ana Oregi, Deputy Mayor of Vitoria-Gasteiz and Carlos Quindós, General Director, VISESA were underlining the great impact of SmartEnCity project on Vitoria-Gasteiz. The involvement and the interventions in the context of the project were challenging but offering numerous opportunities for Vitoria-Gasteiz which were amongst all the new district heating system, a smart public transport and the energy efficient retrofitting for the houses of Coronaciòn Demo District.

Key note speach of Ana Oregi, Deputy Mayor of Vitoria-Gasteiz. Picture: SEZ

High-Level Panel - Future steps for EU cities; a framework for progress

In the following high-level panel, four project coordinators together with one mayor were focusing on future plans for smart cities and communities and the importance of setting the right conditions with the political framework:

  • Frans Verspeek, Project coordinator ATELIER, City of Amsterdam
  • Thomas Osdoba, Project coordinator, NetZeroCities Platform, Climate-KIC
  • Elisabeth Jorge, Project coordinator REPLICATE, Fomento San Sebastián
  • Florencio Manteca, Project coordinator STARDUST
  • Raimond Tamm, Deputy Mayor, City of Tartu

High-level panel on politial framework and plans for future smart cities. Picture: SEZ

The Journey - The Start: Planning the journey towards smart and climate neutral cities

The following session was an introduction of the three stages of the City4Zero Strategy - a step-by step methodology developed within SmartEnCity project to start and to manage successfully a city transition.

Moderated by Koldo Urrutia Azcona, Tecnalia Research & Innovation, the speakers were giving insights on the SmartEnCity approach in comparison to other projects and how the methodology could support cities in the process.

Speakers: 

  • Peter Rathje, Senior consultant, ProjectZero
  • Nikhil Chaudhary, Advisor, EIT Climate-KIC, NetZeroCities
  • Dirk Ahlers, Senior Researcher, Project +CityxChange, NTNU

During the following three sessions, SmartEnCity experts were introducing smart city solutions developed within the project in the fields of Energy Efficiency/ Retrofitting, Mobility and ICT. These sessions were moderated by Francisco Rodríguez Pérez-Curiel, Project coordinator, TECNALIA Research & Innovation.

Koldo Urrutia Azcona, Tecnalia, explanining the Cities4Zero-Strategy. Picture: SEZ

The Journey - The Implementation: Energy Efficiency / Retrofitting

Speakers: 


Martin Kikas, TREA, presenting the retrofitting measures in Tartu. Picture: SEZ

The Journey - The Implementation: Mobility & ICT

SmartEnCity solutions in the field of mobility are including smart public transport with gas or electric busses, (e)-bicycle sharing systems, intelligent chargers, and other innovative interventions.

Speakers:

Mobility session explaining the smart electric bus of Vitoria-Gasteiz. Picture: SEZ

The session on ICT-topics was introducing the CIOPs of the three Lighthouse Cities,  the new open city platforms developed within SmartEnCity for all kind of city services, consumption data, bus routes and much more. 

Speakers:

Urmo Lehtsalu, Tecnalia, explaining the development of the CIOP. Picture: SEZ.

During the networking break participants had the opportunity to exchange and browse through the information material on different Smart City projects in the Knowledge Area. Throughout the two event days participants also had the opportunity to participate in a variety of matchmaking activities offered by the Smart Cities Marketplace. Jorge Rodrigues de Almeida, financing expert of the Smart Cities Marketplace, presented the services of the Marketplace and gave direct advice on financial issues to city representatives and other interested participants for future smart city projects. 


Jorge Rodrigues de Almeida, financing expert, presenting the services of the Smart Cities Marketplace. Picture: SEZ.

In the afternoon the programme continued with session on practical questions and experiences SmartEnCity and other SCC projects faced and still face during their projects.

Citizen engagement: How to overcome distrust?

The aim of the session moderated by Eukene Barrenetxea LarrañagaHead of H-Enea Living Lab, was about to find out how to overcome the barriers related to citizen engagement, because the citizens are key to a successful city transition.

Speakers: 

  • Merit Tatar, Member of the Board of Institute of Baltic Studies 
  • Peter Rathje, Senior consultant, ProjectZero  
  • Alberto Ortiz de Elgea, Head of Innovation and Sustainability, VISESA, Basque Country Public Housing Body 
  • Kertu Vuks, Vice Mayor of Elva rural municipality, representing SmartEnCity Network in Estonia 

After a busy first day of SmartEnCity Final Conference, many participants took the chance to explore the medieval quarter or alternatively visited the cathedral of Vitoria-Gasteiz.

Whereas the first day of the conference was focusing on the political framework and the strategy for a successful city transition and introducing smart city solutions, the second day was about monitoring and evaluation issues as well as replication and network.


Session on citizen engagement showing Merit Tatar, Institute of Baltic Studies and Peter Rathje, ProjectZERO. Picture: SEZ

Session Monitoring & Evaluation

This session moderated by Julia Vicente, Energy Department, CARTIF, was looking on these topics from the perspective of different smart cities projects with the aim to speak about important aspects to bear in mind, problems encountered, solutions implemented, and lessons learnt regarding monitoring and evaluation of projects.

Speakers:

  • Javier Antolín, Researcher, Centro tecnológico CARTIF, representative REMOURBAN
  • Barbara Branchini, Kveloce I+D+i, representative MatchUp
  • Cruz Enrique Borges Hernández, Researcher, University of Deusto, representative Atelier
  • Eduardo Miera, TECNALIA Research & Innovation, representative Replicate
  • Sergio Diaz de Garayo, Project director, CENER, representative Stardust


Monitoring Session during SmartEnCity Final Conference. Picture: SEZ

Session Replication - What and How

This session moderated by Merit TatarInstitute of Baltic Studies, was discussing chances and challenges of replication for cities between different entities within the Smart Cities community and was presenting the SmartEnKit (SmartEnCity's toolkit for replication) and explaining how this toolkit can help cities in their transition process.

Speakers:

  • Muriël Pels, Advisor European Cooperation and EU funding affairs (Horizon2020/Europe), City of Utrecht
  • Jorge Rodrigues de Almeida, Managing Director, RdA Climate Solutions & Matchmaking expert of the Smart Cities Marketplace
  • Serena Pagliula, Project manager H2020 projects, City of Lecce

Replication session explaining SmartEnCity's Toolkit for Replication. Picture: SEZ

Session The SmartEnCity Network - How to speed up your smart city development

This last interactive panel discussion, moderated by Kristina BozhkovaProject Manager, ProjectZero, was a reflection on the network from view of the member cities and how one can benefit from being part a network and what are the five top recommendations from the present member cities?

Speakers:

  • Ivanka Pandelieva-Dimova, Sofia Energy Center, representing Asenovgrad municipality and the SmartEnCity Network in Bulgaria
  • Sara Botto, RINA, representing Lecce Municipality and the SmartEnCity Network in Italy
  • Kertu Vuks, Vice Mayor of Elva rural municipality, representing SmartEnCity Network in Estonia
  • Per Alex Sorensen, PlanEnergi representing SmartEnCity Network in Denmark
  • Koldo Urrutia Azcona, Innovation in Smart Sustainable Cities & Urban Environment, Tecnalia Research & Innovation, representing SmartEnCity Network in Spain

Interactive session on benefits of SmartEnCity Network. Picture: SEZ

The conference programme was ending with the SmartEnCity Network Exchange, were the participants became the opportunity to directly get into contact with the SmartEnCity experts. In addition, the Smart Cities Marketplace was offering advice and matchmaking services.

Topics and Speakers:

  • Energy efficiency and Retrofitting with Martin Kikas, Tartu Regional Energy Agency, Estonia; David Grisaleña, Visesa, Spain
  • Citizen engagement with Peter Rathje, ProjectZero, Denmark; Eukene Barrenetxea Larranaga, H-ENEA Living Lab, Spain; Andra Asser, Institute of Baltic Studies, Estonia
  • Mobility with Juan Carlos Escudero, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain; Jaanus Tamm, Tartu, Estonia
  • ICT with Urmo Lehtsalu, Telia, Estonia; Felix Larrinaga, Mondragon Corporation, Spain 
  • Matchmaking services of the Smart Cities Marketplace with Jorge Rodrigues de Almeida, RdA Climate Solutions; Sabine Haeßler, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum

SmartEnCity Final Conference was finishing the programme with two tours, one with Vitoria-Gasteiz' new Smart Electric Bus (BEI - Bus Eléctrico Inteligente) and another tour along the streets of demo district Coronación, explaining different technical solutions for energy retrofitting. The tour also included a guided tour to the new district heating boiler room by technicians from project partner Giroa Veolia.

Thank you, speakers and participants, for your engagement and your interest; and thank you, Victoria-Gasteiz for being a wonderful host!