Category Archives: European projects

THE ENERGY TRANSITION: NEW DIALOGUES BETWEEN THE CITY OF ROME & LOCAL STAKEHOLDERS

 

The City of Rome is strongly involving stakeholders in shaping the city’s future, particularly, regarding the energy transition.

In fact, stakeholders and organisations will be very soon involved in key strategic decision-making to help the City administration of Rome to install infrastructures for charging electric vehicles.

On the other side, it will be easier for the local stakeholders wishing to install electric infrastructures in Rome. This because the City of Rome will renounce to request them the taxes regarding the “occupation of public land” as well as the building permit.

In addition, The City Administration decided to increase the possibility of commercial surface inside the areas of electric charging distributors. This opportunity will repay the investment of the stakeholders on the electric charging points.

But there’s more: an App will be also created in which citizens can propose to the Local Authority the areas of the city where to install electric infrastructures. Then, the City Administration will check the availability of the areas to be equipped with electric charging stations.

The City Assembly Resolution 92/2017 containing the Rome’s Plan of Electric Mobility 2017-2020 was in fact approved last 19 of April 2018.

The Resolution regards the “Regulations for the construction and management of public access systems to be used exclusively for the recharging of vehicles powered by electricity”.

The Rome’s City Councilor for Mobility, Linda Meleo, explained during the City Assembly that the Plan is an important act, because it introduces the first Electric Mobility Plan which defines addresses on what and how electric mobility must be implemented. In addition, it defines the new horizontal and vertical signage linked to the stalls for charging electric vehicles and introduces a framework of rules for the installation of electric infrastructures in the city.

The Plan aims to a minimum target that is to provide the capital city with at least 700 electric charging points, distributed in a capillary way also in the most peripheral areas, by 2020. Through this Plan, Rome intends to achieve more ambitious objectives in order to become an attractive pole of electric mobility. Six macro areas have been identified, going from the city centre to the peri-urban areas, in order to ensure the installation of more electric charging points: from the service stations of the “GRA”, the Rome’s ring road, to the ancient Aurelian Walls, in order to meet the needs of citizens, so as to allow citizens to recharge their own vehicle wherever they are.

The regulations for the implementation of the electric infrastructures in Rome establish, as follows:

• Subjects entitled to submit an application for the implementation of charging electric points

• Technical constraints for the applications

• Technical documentation and building permit procedures

• Duration of the building permit and guarantees

• Technical characteristics of the electric infrastructures

• Stall signaling

• Management, information and integration constraints; monitoring and penalties

• Exemption from building permit charges

• Transitional rules for the managers of the charging stations activated before the entry into force of the Regulation

This Regulation fits perfectly with the actions undertaken by EV ENERGY project, such as the meetings with stakeholders carried out during 2017-2018.

Claudio Bordi

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Stakeholder meeting in February in Rome on Energy transition

Climate change and the resulting consequences are among the biggest challenges of our times. Mitigation and adaptation are increasingly becoming priorities for the local governments of the Lazio region. This is the reason why Anci Lazio, the Lazio Region Association of Cities and Municipalities, is actively promoting the transition to more sustainable practices, through the implementation of diverse EU funded projects under the European Regional Development Fund, such as EV Energy [1], Regio-Mob [2] and Local4Green[3]. These projects are showing that the transition is technically achievable and economically feasible. The last Stakeholder meeting that took place in Rome last January 12th, 2018, delved into the current status of Lazio’s policy environment, with a particular interest in initiatives aiming to expand the Lazio’s renewable energy production and use. The main goal of Anci Lazio was to raise awareness, understanding between stakeholders and finally to catalyse action[4].

From the analysis conducted by Anci Lazio the way energy needs in Lazio region are being met is changing rapidly. These changes are in response to new opportunities – such as renewable energy and smart technologies to reduce emissions and extend energy access. Just think of the development of the private sector in the field of electric car sharing and e-bike sharing in Rome and in the Lazio region, which implies new needs for different forms of energy supply.

The traditional centralized model of linear power generation and delivery through limited market or monopoly conditions is going to give way to a more diverse, dynamic and complex system with multiple actors and multi-layered energy, information and money flows. Such new more dynamic system is the so-called Distributed Energy Systems (DES) which can deliver significant economic, social and environmental co-benefits through better system resilience and efficiency, including lower cost grid balancing, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and affordable extension of grids to unconnected communities.

Energy infrastructure in Italy is ageing and requires significant investment to replace and repair. A crucial issue is, therefore, the need of new policy goals aimed at the modernization of the e-infrastructure networks together with the e-storage, as shown in the good practices identified by the partnership of the Ev Energy project.

What emerges from these good practices is that EU countries have set targets for electric vehicles (EVs) development in recent years and are  employing more and more a number of policies to achieve environmental objectives and alleviate the energy pressure, as EVs have prominent advantages for reducing CO2 emissions and alleviating the dependence on fossil fuel consumption in the transport sector.

In the same way, Lazio region needs more policies, such as financial incentives, technology support and charging infrastructure, to promote broader range use of EVs.

Apart from monetary incentives such as tax credits or direct subsidies, there exist other measures that could boost EV sales, or at least, could clear some obstacles out of the way that prevent potential EV buyers from a purchase. These include the improvement of the charging infrastructure, road-tax exemptions, and traffic regulations such as the free use of bus lanes or parking areas.

Therefore, policy measures are strongly and urgently needed in Lazio region to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emission and promote the acceptance of EVs.

 

To follow the EV Energy project:

https://www.interregeurope.eu/evenergy/

 

Claudio BORDI

 

[1] EV-ENERGY project runs from 1 January 2017 to 30 June 2021 under Interreg Europe Programme. The 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.

 

[2] REGIO-MOB project runs from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2020 under Interreg Europe Programme. REGIO-MOB partners expect to contribute to the consolidation of sustainable mobility in their regions by improving their policies performance as a result of a shared learning process. This improvement will be materialised through the development of regional mobility strategies with an holistic approach (environmental, economic & social factors). https://www.interregeurope.eu/regio-mob

 

[3] Local4Green project runs from 1 November 2016 to 30 April 2020 under MED Programme. It is an innovative project that supports local authorities-municipalities to define and implement innovative local fiscal policies in order to promote renewable energy sources (RES), in the public and private sector and households. https://www.local4green.interreg-med.eu

 

[4] The outcomes of the stakeholder meeting are used to create complex, dynamic, highly quantitative models which will be discussed with government institutions in order to develop an Action Plan for the Lazio Region that will be illustrated in a next article.

New guidance for EU-funded projects

“Helping Member States organise sound tender procedures for EU investments is key to safeguard the EU budget from errors and ensure the maximum impact of each euro the EU spends, for the direct benefit of citizens,” said Commissioner for Regional policy Corina Creţu.

The Commission published new guidance to help national, regional and local public officials dealing with EU funds ensure efficient and transparent public procurement procedures for EU-funded projects.  The guidance, soon available in all languages, covers the process from A to Z, from the preparation and publication of the calls to the selection and evaluation of bids and the contract implementation. As such, it can also be useful outside the scope of EU funds. At each step, the guidance includes tips to avoid mistakes, good practices and useful links and templates. It also explains how to make the most out of the opportunities offered by the revised public procurement directives of 2014, i.e. less red tape and more online procedures to make it easier for small businesses to participate in public tenders and the possibility of introducing new criteria in award decision to choose socially responsible companies and innovative, environment-friendly products. The European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds channel over €450 billion into the EU real economy over the 2014-2020 funding period, half of which is invested through public procurement. An infographic on the guidance and more information on what the Commission does to help Member States improve the way they manage and invest EU funds are available online.

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

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.

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