Category Archives: European projects

Challenge of air quality in Lazio Region

 

Anci Lazio is part of an innovative cooperation project  in the field of renewable energies and urban electric mobility: EV Energy, under Interreg Europe Programme

The Challenge of Air Quality in Italian Cities is the report presented on the last September 29th to the Italian Senate by the Sustainable Development Foundation, a think tank, chaired by the former Minister Mr Edo Ronchi,  in collaboration with Enea, the National Agency for Technology and Energy, and the State Railways Partnership. The Report reveals that approximately 91,000 premature deaths occur annually in Italy for atmospheric pollution, against 86,000 in Germany, 54,000 in France, 50,000 in the United Kingdom, and 30,000 in Spain. These 91,000 deaths in Italy include 66,630 deaths for PM2,5 thin dusts, 21,040 for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and 3,380 for ozone (O3).

The report proposes ten measures to reduce pollution, starting from the need for a national air quality strategy. The criticality identified by the report is the management of antismog policies which are now entrusted to municipalities, but they can only intervene on 40% of sources of pollution. Therefore, there is a need for a National environmental governance to help local authorities ensure that air quality policies are radically aimed at reducing all pollutants.

Among the points of such Decalogue, there is the reduction in the number of private cars, new investments in urban public transport as well as the increase of electric vehicles. These are key points for the air quality policies to be adopted in the Lazio region and the city of Rome.

In fact, in addition to an old, slow and expensive public transport network, Rome’s mobility is almost entirely based on private cars: its motorization rate is 978 vehicles per 1.000 inhabitants, with a death rate for road accidents up to 7 out of 100,000 people.

This is why Anci Lazio, the association of 378 municipalities in the Lazio region, Rome Municipality included, has enthusiastically joined the EV Energy project proposed by the Green IT Amsterdam Region, as lead partner,  together with the Barcelona Official Chamber of Commerce, the Kaunas University of Technology , the Province of Flevoland and the Stockholm County Council, Growth and regional planning administration.

Under the Interreg Europe Programme, the project  paves the way for a future decarbonisation of the energy and mobility sector: it aims to analyse, initiate and implement policies favouring sustainable energy and electric mobility systems in urban areas. It works with experienced cities and regions, transferring the most appropriate policies and drivers. The project focuses on three thematic areas: Renewable energies, Electric mobility, Infrastructures (Smart grids, ICT, etc.).

Electrical cars would of course pollute far less than fossil fuel-driven ones; the air in cities would once more be breathable and their streets as quiet as those of Venice.

In fact, the end of the age of the internal combustion engine is in sight. There are small signs everywhere and even in Rome: the shift to electric vehicles is already under way, among courageous enterprises such as Share’ngo, GLS Italy and UMPI.

SHARE’NGO is a new electric micro car sharing service of the City of Rome, invented in Tuscany, produced in China (produced by Xindayang of Geely Motor Group Co., the Equomobili are designed in Italy and in CS GROUP). Mr Enrico Tagliaferri, Chief of the Sharon’Go in Rome, says that the reaction of Rome’s citizens was very positive, so as to encourage Share’ngo investments, by increasing the fleet to 600 cars and expanding the operational area to the green belt of Rome. Sharengo is also proposing and supporting the “condominium car sharing”, an EV sharing service deployed on a condominium basis. It brings to the extreme the heighborhood operation model narrowing the sharing base to the condominium. This way citizens can book and pick up the EV inside their own condominium and use them for two-way trips.

GLS Italy has an ecological branch in the San Lorenzo neighbourhood in Rome: a strategic point in the inner city of Rome. It is the initiative of the GLS express delivery, to deliver goods in Rome through EVs at 100%. The EVs autonomy of 130 km is sufficient for the entire working day for the distribution of goods in Rome. Therefore, GLS is progressively replacing its methane vehicles with electric ones.  At San Lorenzo, GLS has E-Stations to recharge its fleet and EVs of its customers and visitors. GLS was recently involved also in the Pro-E-Bike project for delivery.

The use of electric vehicles (EVs), and with it the development of a sustainable urban mobility planning, is logically dependent on a functioning and well-structured network of charging points. For this purpose, charging poles need to be installed all around the city, very soon. For this, there are very active enterprises like UMPI, an Italian company leader in the production of powerline smart systems: ACS (Active Charging System). It is a complete and highly innovative platform enabling swift and easy provision throughout urban and extra-urban areas of a series of recharging points for EVs. By using existing electrical networks for public  lighting, this system allows the installation of recharging stations in strategic areas of the city as well as their remote  management and monitoring.

All this proves that the private sector in Rome is ready to the innovation and the transition towards a more sustainable mobility system.

However, the quest for more and better public sector innovation in Rome and Lazio is hampered by several barriers, which fall into major categories such as unfavorable framework conditions; lack of innovation leadership at all levels; limited knowledge and application of innovation processes and methods.

In order to overcome these barriers, the EV Energy project is very pro-active in engaging public authorities and creating new synergies between public and private sectors to innovate and to drive concrete change processes.

Claudio Bordi, European project expert

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EV Energy project, 2nd Regional Stakeholder Meeting

The 2nd Regional Stakeholder Meeting conference of EV Energy project held in Rome the 19th October, 2017.

The European Commission intends to promote the implementation of an integrated European eco-system for batteries, in order to support electromobility and energy storage, by addressing the issue of scarce resources and battery recycling, which will encourage the emergence of new models of circular economy for the automotive industry (Europe on the Move, An agenda for a socially fair transition towards clean, competitive and connected mobility for all, May 31st, 2017, Communication from the EC to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Comittee of the Regions).

Mr Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, recently declared as follows: “before thinking that electric vehicles are the solution, we must consider all the life cycle of these vehicles, since when energy is produced from fossil fuels, the emissions of an electric car are equivalent to those of any other type of fuel car” (source: Sole 24 ore magazine, imprese e territori, October 2nd, 2017).

Considering how much air pollution in our cities is so worryingly increasing, precisely because of the emissions of cars, EV Energy project starts from the assumption that the electric car must become the integral replacement of the combustion car, ensuring the advent of Electric Vehicles for City Renewable Energy Supply.

In fact, there are European projects that are perfectly in line with the aforementioned new policies of the European Commission, and strongly believe in technologies in favor of electric mobility, analysing and developing innovative local policies that jointly promote renewable energies, electric mobility and the use of ICT for their integration.

EV Energy is one of these projects, funded under the European Commission’s programme for interregional cooperation Interreg Europe. This project aims to pave the way for a transition from fossil driven energy towards fair priced, decarbonised, clean and integrated resources and mobility systems in urban areas. The project’s total budget is € 1,049,797,00 out of which the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) co-finances 85%.

Through interregional policy learning, the most appropriate policies are transferred to cities, regions and partner countries and implemented subsequently. Identified best practices and policies are further disseminated for the benefit of the widest possible audience. EV Energy project gathers 5 different European regions in its consortium. Partners come from Amsterdam, Barcelona, Kaunas, Rome and Stockholm. Green IT Amsterdam has taken up the role of the coordinating partner.

A lot of questions were addressed by the EV Energy partners  to the audience composed of experts and key stakeholders of Lazio region, during the 2nd Regional Stakeholder Meeting conference that took place in Rome last 19 of October 2017, hosted by EUR S.p.A partner in its facilities, with the support of the other Italian partner, Anci Lazio, the Association of 378 municipalities of the Lazio region.

Such questions were, for example, How can EU regions develop innovative solutions and policies surrounding electric mobility and thereby ensure to be drivers of green growth?

 What role can flexible public-private partnerships involving SMEs, energy providers, suppliers, retailers and public bodies play?

Experts and key stakeholders of Lazio region attending the 2nd Regional Stakeholder Meeting conference of EV Energy included representatives of ENEL S.p.A., GLS Italy, the Mobility Service Agency of the City of Rome (Roma Servizi per la Mobilità), Share’ngo and UMPI.

This second conference took place in a city that has witnessed the recurrence of air pollution, these days, due to the lack of rain for weeks. October in Rome can be so pleasant weather-wise, with the likelihood of sunny days and warm temperatures, that the Romans have a name for it: ottobrata romana.  However, the increasing air pollution due to the traffic congestion in Rome is so much alarming.

Fortunately, the key stakeholders of Rome and Lazio region attending the  EV Energy 2nd conference are brave entrepreneurs who figured out what is the way to go for the future. It is extremely praiseworthy that such small and medium-sized entrepreneurs are increasingly adopting services by using electric cars. Thanks to their courageous vision, new business models are emerging and giving rise to innovative mobility services, including new on-line platforms for freight operations, car or scooter/bike sharing services, etc.

The response of Roma Servizi per la Mobilità was that the Municipal agency of Rome is installing soon EV charging points in several sites of the metropolitan area of Rome.

What emerged from the  EV Energy 2nd conference is, therefore, that the City of Rome and the Lazio region must accelerate the transition towards zero-emission mobility. This is why the region urgently needs a fruitful  collaboration between the public and private sectors as one of the key elements to enhance smart policies when it comes to EVs, IT infrastructure and renewable energy.

Claudio Bordi, European projects Expert

Is EU Regulation Ready for Fintech?

money-exchange

Serge Turbin, OPINION

Fintech is a booming sector at the intersection of financial services and technology. Increasingly, fintech startups and technology companies are entering the marketplace traditionally reserved for large financial institutions and intermediaries, such as banks and insurance companies. From TransferWise to Funding Circle, fintech firms are disrupting the status quo, by offering new products and services powered by digital technology. Fintech solutions are also widely impacting productivity, efficiency and innovation in other sectors and parts of society.

There is a huge potential for technological innovation, but it is exactly the financial sector that remains most heavily regulated by definition. Quite often, the policy solutions developed for the industrial reality of the 20th century come clashing with the present-day developments of the digital age. Fintech faces a complex regulatory environment that was designed for older business models and is slow to adopt change and embrace such developments and technologies as blockchain, algorithms and artificial intelligence, data analytics and the like.

Many countries launched policy initiatives to address the challenges and leverage the opportunities offered by fintech. The United Kingdom, an incontestable fintech leader in Europe, has developed a consistent approach to support the development of fintech. The Financial Conduct Authority engages constructively with innovative businesses, and seeks to remove unnecessary barriers to innovation. The Innovation Hub helps innovative businesses gain access to fast, frank feedback on the regulatory implications of their concepts, plans, and choices, so that new and established businesses are able to introduce innovative financial products and services to the market. Advice Unit provides regulatory feedback to firms developing automated models to deliver lower cost advice to consumers. And the regulatory sandbox is a programme allowing fintech firms test their innovative products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms in a controlled environment. With a view on the Brexit prospects, the French regulator, Autorité des Marchés Financiers, is pursuing its commitment to making the Paris financial market more appealing by launching AGILITY, a programme devoted to guiding financial firms through the French authorisation process. It will provide a range of services, notably helping financial firms authorised in the UK set up in France.

The European Commission realises the need to develop a pan-European regulatory response and a common approach to fintech. On 14 November 2016, it launched a Task Force on Financial Technology that aims to assess and make the most of innovation in this area, while also developing strategies to address the potential challenges that fintech poses. This internal task force brings together the expertise of Commission staff across several areas, such as: financial and digital services, digital innovation and security, competition and consumer protection. Fintech gained prominence in the mid-term review of the Capital Markets Union – the Juncker Commission’s flagship initiative of reducing fragmentation in financial markets, diversifying financing sources, strengthening cross-border capital flows and improving access to finance for businesses, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises. The findings of the Task Force on Financial Technology will be presented at a high-level conference “#FinTechEU: Is EU Regulation Fit for New Financial Technologies?” on 23 March 2017. European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, overseeing the dossier, has signalled that the executive is cautious about overregulating the nascent sector. Rather than preparing a wide-ranging policy package on fintech, the European Commission will adopt a watchful policy response, sharing best national practices and introducing minor amendments in the existing laws.

Illustration: Marinus van Reymerswaele, The Money-changer and his Wife, 1540,

 

2014: New #record year of #growth for the global #solar sector

 

SolarPower Europe, the new EPIA (European Photovoltaic Industry Association), released today its flagship market report the “Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2015-2019”. James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe  stated ‘it reveals that the global solar sector has reached a cumulative capacity of 178 Gigawatt (GW) in 2014, multiplying the installed capacity by a factor of 100 in only 14 years of development.’

China, Japan and the USA lead the world’s solar market in 2014, while Europe installed 7 GW, with the UK leading the way – contributing 2.4 GW in 2014. Watson continued, “The success of the UK, set to be the largest European market again in 2015, reinforces the evidence that solar power is a versatile and cost-efficient energy source in any climate.” He added ‘Solar power could grow by 80% in Europe by 2020’.

Michael Schmela, SolarPower Europe’s Executive Advisor, outlined that. ‘If todays global solar momentum continues, and being supported by the right frameworks, we could see over half a Terrawatt (TW) of solar power capacity installed by 2020.’ SolarPower Europe`s Global Market Outlook foresees up to 540 GW of total solar capacity by 2020 in its high-scenario, but even the low support scenario estimates a total solar volume of 396 GW, which would be about twice as much as the capacity installed today.

The rise of solar power was confirmed, with 3 European markets, Germany, Italy and Greece, already reporting that solar covers more than 7% of the electricity demand.

SolarPower Europe believes that 2014 marks a tipping point in the make-up of our energy market, even if European solar market growth slowed again last year. ‘For the first time ever in Europe, renewables produced more power than nuclear – and solar power was key in achieving this remarkable achievement,’ emphasized Schmela. `Being now one of the lowest-cost power sources, solar needs the right market design so that it can continue to contribute its strong support for Europe to reach its clean energy targets,’ he added.

FOSG elects new president and vice-president #fosg #europe #electricity

fosg

Friends of the Supergrid (FOSG), Europe’s largest industrial alliance for electricity interconnections and the development of a European Supergrid, is proud to announce the nomination of Olivier Grabette as its new President and José A. Alfonso Nebrera as Vice-President of the association. With these two new nominations coming a couple of weeks after the nomination of Pierre Bernard as CEO and Chairman of the Board, FOSG’s executive team is now complete.

Olivier Grabette, President of FOSG, is Deputy Director General as well as a member of the Executive Committee of the French TSO, RTE. He is also active in different energy and grid-related associations. In his new role as President of FOSG, he will provide top notch expertise which will be extremely valuable for FOSG’s strategy and vision.

Jose Alfonso Nebrera, Vice-President of FOSG, is General Director of the Spanish energy infrastructure development company ACS-Cobra. He has a significant industrial experience in the energy sector. In his position as Vice-President, Mr. Nebrera will beneficially contribute to the further development of the Association and will highlight the industrial vision of FOSG.

Following the FOSG Board meeting in Brussels, Pierre Bernard, CEO and Chairman of the Board, declared that these two nominations will decidedly increase the visibility and reinforce the leadership of FOSG. Due to their thorough understanding of the energy sector, Olivier Grabette and Jose Alfonso Nebrera will be strong advocates for the implementation of a pan-European Supergrid as an eco-friendly solution for the European energy transition.

Albert Dess MEP joins EUBrasil #eubrasil #dess #agriculture

albert dess

A member of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), the German MEP is also the spokesman for Agriculture and Rural Development Committee (AGRI) and a member of the Delegation for relations with the countries of South Asia (DSAS).

Dess says that Brazil is rich in natural resources and agricultural products with 60% of Brazil’s soil covered with forest areas.

“The country aims to increase productivity, sustainability and resource-efficient production. I wish the two continents an excellent cooperation. As agricultural spokesman for the largest political group EPP I would like to contribute to the fruitful development of the mutual EU-Brazil relations”.

For 26 years I have known Brazil and chaired for 10 years the German-Brazilian Parliamentary Friendship Group in the German Bundestag”.

Azerbaïdjan, promising land and flourishing economy #business #azerbaïdjan #tourism

az flagInsight

Azerbaijan, also known as the “Land of Fire”, is a rich country with a fascinating history and an extraordinary cultural heritage. From a historical point of view, the country has been part of the Soviet Republics as it has been part of Iran. It regained independence alongside the Soviet Union in 1991. Azerbaijan is a modern secular state, independent, Western-oriented and whose culture is dynamic and varied.

Azerbaijan extends over 86,600 square kilometers, which is roughly the size of Austria. The climate, geography and topography are as varied as its cultural heritage. There are 9 of the 13 classified climatic zones.  The country has snowy mountainous regions (the chain of the Greater Caucasus Mountains lies north), wetlands flat desert plains, mud volcanoes (the largest number in the world), forests, nature reserves (2.5% of the territory is protected through 16 national reserves) and beaches.

 

Situation

baku

As the largest and widest country in the three South Caucasus states (Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia), Azerbaïdjan is bordered to the north by Russia, to the north-west by Georgia, to the west by Armenia, to the southwest by Turkey, Iran to the south and finally the Caspian Sea to the east.

The country is the gateway between East and West, on the border of Europe and western Asia. He played an important role on the Silk Road (the great trade route 6 500 km linking the East to the West and which owes its name to the Chinese silk exchanged throughout the estimated merchants). It is of great importance today in the framework of the Europe-Caucasus-Asia transport corridor project (TRACECA).

The official language is Azerbaijani (or Azeri) is Russian, widely spoken throughout the territory. In the capital Baku, young people speak English and other European languages such as  French and German, at a high and respectable level.

 

Land of Fire

baku 2

One of the first references to Azerbaijan as Fuego dates back to the Persian era, where the Persian word “aturpatakan” meant “a place where a sacred fire is preserved” and which represents the country.

Moreover, Azerbaijan as in many places of the South Caucasus, natural fires arise because of the gas ignites when it escapes from the ground, creating a slope effect on fire. The fire worship was a traditional liturgical form in the ancient Azerbaijan, where Zoroastrianism (one of the most widespread religions at the time) was extended to the whole country. The influence of Zoroastrianism can be found on monuments across the country and feeds the superstitions that consider fire as a sacred element.

 

Culture

The culture of Azerbaijan, which is of Turkish heritage, developed itself over centuries of turbulent history and has acquired a unique character. Many of its aspects were also marked by the geographical setting in which it evolved. While maintaining its specificity, the culture of Azerbaijan has been influenced by Persian cultures, Islamic and European. Since the 18th century, when Azerbaijan became part of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, he was strongly influenced by Western culture to date.

The conversion to Islam of Azeris constitute the major event around which articulate the history of Azeri pagan art and the Turkic Azeris art mixed with Islamic art. It is in this context that the Azeri artistic genius has fully flourished.

The precise course the dogmas of Islam with its prohibition to the representation of live beings has led to the development of ornamental art. Carpets, miniatures, calligraphy, elegantly decorated portals of buildings, wall drawings similar to the lace, mosaics mausoleums and palaces are the works of art of the Azerbaijani Islamic culture. Despite the ban, the paintings and sculptures of living beings (humans, animals and mythological creatures) developed artistic refinement and flowers.

 

Food and cuisine

keb az

The Azerbaijani cuisine that does not include meal preparation, but it also summarizes the culinary culture, history, and habits. Climate plays an important role in the formation of the Azerbaijani cuisine. Climate diversity that the Azerbaijani cuisine is colorful and rich. The notes of foreign travelers visiting Azerbaijan, show that people grew wheat, rice, sesame, sugar beet, grapes, apples, tobacco, cotton, quince and produced meat (especially sheep) , caviar and fished.

The names of the national meals are rooted in their technical preparations and remind the regions where they come from. For example, the name of dolma comes from two words: doldurmaq means “fill” and dolamaq means “roll”.

 

Conclusion

Azerbaijan has oil wealth (the country today is the richest of the former USSR), but also its staggering social disparities. Oil wealth has continued to stoke the greed of powerful neighbors. Russia and Iran have ogled for decades on the wealth of this tiny country, trying to carve it the lion’s share. The result of these struggles: one third of Azerbaijanis live in Iran today, and much lives in Russia. This fact is causing the contrast that exists in Azerbaijan between a population of Turkish origin living in Persian land in a religious state, and the rest of the population, secularized during the communist occupation, that sucks now to turn to the West and modernity.

 

Shervin LABANI

 

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