End of the European ESMARTCITY project: new insights and opportunities

In 2018, Capenergies marked its commitment to building smart cities for the future through its involvement in the European ESMARTCITY project. This project has revolved around two years of collaborative experimentation to analyse the impact and use of energy-efficient technologies as levers for green growth and sustainable development in the cities of six Mediterranean countries in Europe. In July 2020, the final meeting to wrap up the project gathered more than one hundred Smart City players from all over Europe; it provided everyone with the opportunity to reflect on the collective learning process initiated by ESMARTCITY.

ESMARTCITY: Fast-tracking the energy transition for smart cities of the future

By around 2050, two thirds of the population will be living in cities, using more than 70% of the global energy produced and emitting just as much greenhouse gas. It is vital that we rethink our vision of cities to protect the remaining natural resources, the environment and thus the quality of life of those living in these cities, including in the context of a pandemic. The smart city concept promotes sustainable living based on innovative technologies that benefit its inhabitants and the community as a whole; it is a solution designed to counter the increasing urbanisation of regions and poorly optimised citizen relationship management.

As smart city projects emerge across the globe, France also has the responsibility to prepare the future of its cities. To meet these new demands and in parallel to actions led under the FLEXGRID, programme, Capenergies chose to join the ESMARTCITY project as a way to support cooperation between French cities and companies adhering to the Smart City concept, by promoting the development of more intelligent, sustainable Mediterranean cities. In concrete terms, the experiments involved testing innovative technologies and services to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and public lighting in six Mediterranean countries of Europe, i.e. Greece, Spain, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Portugal and France.

Buildings are the main structures that shape cities. By refurbishing and upgrading buildings using Smart-City technologies, their energy efficiency can be improved, which makes them easier and cheaper to run and service. Schools, offices, stadiums, pools and libraries were transformed into ‘living’ laboratories, incorporating the experience of users and exploiting the surrounding intelligence set-ups (multi-sensors) for a total budget of about €78,000, which was recovered in under 4 years.

In much the same way, more than 60% energy savings were achieved at four pilot sites by investing almost €68,000 in smart LED lights combined with light and motion sensors, making it possible to vary the brightness of the lights depending on the hour of the day, for the better of the city, its services and its citizens. With more than 260 million street lamps worldwide, public lighting can be likened to the central nerve system of a city, offering the potential for massive optimisation and upgrading, specifically through the integration of smart mobility devices and pollution sensors.

Smart Cities: business opportunities for companies and local authorities

Having clearly understood the demands of its network, Capenergies has created the conditions needed to roll out its Smart City concept in the region and promote the implementation of innovative technologies. A number of collective smart workshops were jointly organised with companies and then with regional authorities to check that the innovative solutions proposed properly reflect the needs of local administrations. Public procurement is definitely a strong economic lever, making it possible to accelerate the deployment of new solutions. To do this, the criteria for awarding contracts must be reviewed to take better account of more eco-friendly, sustainable solutions and products.

The Smart-City market is expected to be worth more than 400 billion euros by 2027 (source: Grand View Research Inc.). Digitalisation of public services, data processing, sustainable mobility, energy efficiency of equipment and buildings, open access to data; all these topics will garner strong support in the years to come. This impetus is already tangible today; despite the current pandemic, the quest for sustainability and smart growth remain fundamental drivers in adapting our cities and better managing global warming.

Though the ESMARTCITY project is coming to an end, the European Commission had decided to support 100 European cities in developing low-carbon economies and digitalising companies through the Intelligent City Challenge (ICC). In France, eight cities have been chosen for this initiative, with two located in the south: Nice as the mentor city, and Aix-en-Provence. 

In 2021, Capenergies will continue its actions in the field by supporting Smart-City players and rolling out strategic projects.

Green in Med : Summary of the event on water and energy management solutions for tourist accommodations

On Monday 26th October, more than 30 people, including SMEs providing innovative technologies in the field of water and energy management and managers of small-middle sized tourist accommodations in Region South of France, gathered at the Palais du Commerce et de la Mer in Toulon for the first GreenInMed public conference in France. The objective was straightforward: to present the opportunities the project may provide to tourist accommodations’ managers and innovative solution providers, to enable the latter to present their offer to and match with final beneficiaries and to facilitate the match. The conference was organised by Capenergies, leading the project in the Region South of France and Corse, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Var.


Water-Energy: Visit of the Tunisian SONEDE delegation and the CEA to Capenergies

On 6 March 2019, Capenergies welcomed a Tunisian delegation led by Mr Mosbah Helali, CEO of SONEDE (the Tunisian national water distribution utility), and several officials from the CEA’s Regional Representation, led by Dr Nidhal OUERFELLI, Advisor to the Chairman of the CEA and High Representative for the countries of the Southern Mediterranean, the Middle East and Africa.

“The aim of the CEA’s regional representation is to develop scientific and technological cooperation between the CEA, its partners in France and stakeholders from the southern shore of the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Africa. Together with the Capenergies cluster it forms a platform for cooperation in the Mediterranean region.” explains Dr Nidhal OUERFELLI.

The discussions during this trans-Mediterranean day centred around the energy strategy of SONEDE and its projects for energy efficiency and the integration of renewable energies, as well as possible synergies with the members of the cluster.

SONEDE is one of the largest public water utilities in the Middle East and North Africa region, with more than 7,000 employees, 2.46 million individual connections and a water distribution system measuring close to 48,456 km. It is also the most energy-intensive company in Tunisia.

SONEDE operates and maintains a “complex, diversified hydraulic infrastructure covering the whole country, which requires a great deal of energy for its operation, and for the production, transfer and distribution of water”.

Faced with increasing requirements for water and diminishing available resources, SONEDE is working to find the right balance. To do this, it must make use of more energy-efficient technological solutions, such as optimisation of the systems for transferring water from the north to the south, and desalination of brackish water and seawater. SONEDE is therefore looking for innovative energy management solutions that will reduce its production costs and provide people with good quality water at the best price.

Discussions continued at the Société du Canal de Provence with two stakeholders, who are committed to taking action to achieve optimised management of this precious resource, water, sharing their experience. At the invitation of the Capenergies cluster, and because the Water-Energy area requires collective action, the management of the EA Eco Entreprises cluster detailed the projects that have been implemented in the SUD region, developed within the framework of the Water-Energy OIR (Operation of Interest to the Region), in partnership with Capenergies. The SCS cluster also contributed to the discussions about the IoT, one of the future areas of development for SONEDE.


Capenergies signs a cooperation agreement with the Basque Energy cluster

In line with its internationalisation strategy, the Capenergies cluster signed a cooperation agreement with the Basque Energy cluster, a leading European player in smart power grids. Already partners under the European programme called Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) for smart grid development (energy thematic platform), clusters working on similar themes are currently strengthening their ties to expand their portfolio of services and to generate new technical and business opportunities for their members.READ MORE

Capenergies signs a cooperation agreement with the Moroccan Solar cluster

As part of its internationalisation strategy, Capenergies announced that it was signing a cooperation agreement with the Moroccan Solar cluster, a key player in the development of a green economy in Morocco. This partnership focuses on technologies for renewable energy production, such as solar power, solar power applications and the integration of renewable energies into the grid. Through this agreement, Capenergies intends to strengthen its presence in the Mediterranean Basin, to confirm the international potential of its ecosystem, and to provide its members with new technical and business opportunities.READ MORE

Capenergies joins the Energy NCP Consortium – Overview of Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020

Enrico Mazzon, Europe and International Project Manager at the Capenergies cluster, has joined the consortium of energy NCPs for France, alongside representatives from the Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, the Economy Ministry, the CNRS and the ADEME. He is particularly keen to ensure that the views and interests of companies are heard in the H2020 calls for projects for the new FP9 work programme, in particular on grids, storage, hydrogen and solar energy solutions.READ MORE

Hydrogen technology in Corsica: the Myrte and Paglia Orba platforms welcome a delegation from Toyota Japan, led by Capenergies

On 16 June 2017 Capenergies, represented by its Deputy Director, Paul Lucchese, took a delegation from Toyota, Japan, to visit the Myrte and Paglia Orba platforms at Vignola.

Christian Cristofari, director of the technology institute at the University of Corsica and manager of the platform, gave a presentation to the visitors on Corsica’s hydrogen projects and strategy.READ MORE

Waste-to-energy business opportunities in Bavaria

The relationships forged over the past few years between CAFAP (the Provence arm of the Franco-German Business Club), the German state of Bavaria and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK) for Munich and Upper Bavaria were made possible through the partnership framework agreement between the Provence Alpes Côtes d’Azur region of France and the Bavarian state of Germany. This agreement paved the way for a two-day meeting in Munich last May offering the opportunity for a French delegation – including representatives from Capenergies and two of its member companies – to meet German counterparts and build business contacts.READ MORE

TowerPower states its ambition – to develop an offshore wind turbine surveillance and maintenance system

TowerPower is moving into uncharted waters. There are already a number of monitoring solutions for onshore wind turbines. But this project, launched in 2014 with financial support from the European Commission, aims to develop a surveillance system for offshore turbines. It is a direct response to strong demand from offshore wind farm operators, who want to cut maintenance costs by scheduling and increasing the time between site operations.READ MORE

The SmartEE gets off to a flying start

The EMILIE project, with a total budget of €2.2 million over three years, funded by the transnational European MED programme, aims to encourage innovation in tertiary building energy efficiency technologies among SMEs in the Mediterranean. It seeks to foster the emergence of innovative solutions to reduce the consumption of greenhouse gas-emitting energy, and to contribute to growth, competitiveness and jobs across the region. This is an ambition shared by the Capenergies competitiveness cluster, which is spearheading the initiative in France, alongside partners from Italy, Spain, Croatia and Slovenia.

MARE business meetings

The Mediterranean Activities for Research and Innovation in the Energy sector (MARE) project is holding a series of business meetings for attendees at the Mediterranean Climate Conference (MEDCOP21). The event will bring together energy-sector SMEs, researchers and projects from across Europe, with a particular emphasis on micro-grids, water desalination, renewables and building energy efficiency. The aim of the meetings is to generate new research, development, demonstration and innovation projects through the exchange of best practice and technology transfer between Mediterranean countries.READ MORE

Capenergies coordinates the European TowerPower project

TowerPowerimg00TowerPowerimg00 Capenergies is coordinating the joint European TowerPower project, launched in May 2014, which aims to develop a real-time remote monitoring system to oversee ageing offshore wind turbine structures. The new development is a direct response to demand from wind farm operators, who want to cut maintenance costs by increasing the time between site operations. The project, co-funded by the European Commission through the 7th Framework Programme (FP7), will take place over three years with a budget of around €2 million.