ICLEI European Secretariat

ICLEI European Secretariat



News (January, 2016)


27 January 2016

Austria sees boost in electric mobility uptake

Electric mobility is on an upward trajectory in Austria thanks, in part, to the government enacting a variety of pro-electric vehicle measures, from regulatory policies to financial incentives. The E-MOBILITY WORKS project is also active in the country, helping the cities of Schladming, Feldbach and Kapfenberg to design and implement strategies to improve the uptake of electric vehicles at the local level. Of the three cities, Schladming has had its plan approved by the city council, with the other cities’ councils yet to vote. Austria is particularly well positioned to benefit from electric vehicles as it produces around 30 percent of its energy from renewable sources, meaning emissions are minimal.

As well as providing funding for sustainable transport schemes and organisations that are encouraging of electric vehicles, the Austrian national government has provided insurance discounts (between 10 and 20 percent) and purchase premiums to potential electric car owners. Organisations that switch their vehicle fleet to electric power are eligible to avail of public funding, while consumers can benefit from lower tax rates thanks to emission tax exemptions.

Figures from 2014 reveal that 1281 electric vehicles were sold in Austria, with 2360 hybrid electric vehicles purchased. Charging infrastructure is also expanding, addressing one of many consumers’ primary concerns about the use of electric vehicles – the range that can be travelled before running out of power. Statistically, more than half of all car journeys taken in Austria are within 5 kilometres, with over 30 percent within 2 kilometres. Through its activities, E-MOBILITY WORKS is helping Austrian cities to embrace cleaner, quieter and more cost effective vehicle transport.

For more information, visit the E-MOBILITY WORKS Austria page [in German].

26 January 2016

Bologna exchange contributes to Local Economic Development strategy of Steve Tshwete

A staff exchange programme hosted by the Urban-LEDS project has already had a significant positive impact on policymaking in Steve Tshwete Municipality (South Africa). Michael Nkosi, Assistant Director of Local Economic Development in Steve Tshwete, along with Carlos Ribeiro, Executive Secretary of Environment, Recife (Brazil), visited Bologna (Italy) in December 2015 to learn from the city’s experience of transitioning to renewable energy. Steve Tshwete is currently shifting from coal powered energy generation, which motivated their participation in the exchange programme.

The delegates studied Bologna’s Sustainable Energy Action Plan and 2007 Energy Plan, gaining a comprehensive insight into the city’s energy strategies and how these are integrated. Further, the delegates explored how the city has managed public-private partnerships and how innovative technology can improve energy efficiency, such as by stimulating the green economy through the involvement of SMEs. Their visit also enabled them to take part in the final conference of the Cost Adapt project, which focused on climate risk and climate change adaptation.

Towards the end of the programme the delegates visited Kilowatt, a community farming and community development centre project that showcases the European style of cooperative food production alternatives, food security initiatives and citizen involvement. The knowledge gained as part of the visit has already contributed to the municipality’s Local Economic Development strategy.

For more information, visit urbanleds.iclei.org.
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25 January 2016

European Commission promotes Clean Fleets tool

A new free-to use tool, specially developed for local authorities to calculate life-cycle costs of vehicle fleets in line with the Clean Vehicles Directive (CVD), is now available via the European Commission’s Mobility and Transport site.

Developed by the Clean Fleets project with the support of the European Commission's Intelligent Energy Europe Programme, this calculator performs a lifetime cost calculation on the basis of the harmonised methodology in Art. 6 of the Clean Vehicles Directive (CVD) 2009/33/EC.

The Clean Fleets project, which ran from 2012 to 2015 and was coordinated by ICLEI Europe, produced a number of publications, tools and policy recommendations based on its work assisting local governments with the implementation of the CVD and the procurement or leasing of clean and energy-efficient vehicles.

For more information, visit ec.europa.eu.

21 January 2016

KwaDukuza’s Chief Planner gains valuable ideas from Helsinki study tour

As a Model City of the Urban-LEDS project, KwaDukuza Municipality (South Africa) has been working closely with ICLEI to achieve low-emission development. Chimene Pereira, the chief planner for the municipality, visited European project city Helsinki (Finland) to study the city’s urban low emission development strategies. Mr Pereira worked alongside Petteri Huuska, Environment Planning Officer for the City of Helsinki for a week in October 2015 to share knowledge and closely examine how Helsinki approaches low emission development.

One of Mr Pereira’s objectives was to learn from Helsinki’s experience with green buildings and energy strategies. Viikki Environment House, the most energy-efficient office building in Finland, provided an inspiring high-tech example of how innovative design can reduce energy demand and slash carbon emissions, for example by generating energy from rooftop wind turbines and facilitating simple but effective practices like off-grid mobile phone charging. The visit provoked reflection on how the built environment can serve as a vehicle to implement and monitor climate change mitigation.

A further topic for study was the relationship between urban planning and environmental planning, and how Helsinki integrates sustainability into such planning. It was found that Helsinki’s administrative structure facilitates a holistic approach, distributing departments for flora and fauna, events, transport, housing and other priorities throughout the environmental unit. Aspects of Helsinki’s planning model could possibly be replicated in KwaDukuza by establishing a dedicated unit within the Economic Development and Planning directorate to address sustainability questions.

For more information, visit urbanleds.iclei.org.
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20 January 2016

Registration opens for 3rd European Conference on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans

Transport professionals from across Europe are invited to register for the 3rd European Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan conference, taking place in Bremen (Germany) from 12 - 13 April 2016. Over 300 delegates are expected to attend the free conference, the principal annual event for those involved in turning the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) concept into practice. This year's conference theme is ‘Planning the efficient city’.

The European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, is one of many speakers already confirmed for the event. Ms Bulc will lead an interactive discussion on how the take-up of the SUMP concept can be accelerated across Europe. Nikolaus von Peter from the Cabinet of the Commissioner for Transport will outline the latest European Union policy initiatives, while Rainer Bomba, State Secretary from the German Federal Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure, will look at sustainable transport in Germany.

The promotion of vehicle sharing; electrification of public transport; the optimised management of freight; and the enhancement of cycle infrastructure will be under discussion at the event. A host of excursions around Bremen – the winner of the 2014 SUMP award – will take place to demonstrate how planning processes are shaping the creation of low-carbon neighbourhoods.

For more information, visit the Eltis events page.

19 January 2016

Cities showcase sustainable energy solutions on CEPPI website

The CEPPI team, comprised of expert partners Jera, Optimat, Steinbeis Transferzentrum and ICLEI, has launched the CEPPI project website to showcase the sustainable energy solutions being developed by the five participating cities: Birmingham (UK), Budapest (Hungary), Castelló and Valencia (Spain), and Wrocław (Poland). By using a pro-innovation procurement approach, these cities aim to achieve energy savings of 33GWh per year.

This 3-year project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, intends to build the cities’ capacity in the fields of public procurement of innovation (PPI) and sustainable public procurement (SPP). Public authorities have started identifying the possible areas of intervention and related information has been published on the CEPPI website - Birmingham City Council, for example, announced its interest in procurements related to its waste strategy; Budapest is exploring the implementation of PPI practices in tenders to retrofit the City Hall; Valencia is looking at city lighting, fountain systems and sports centres; and Wrocław is considering a focus on street lighting modernisation.

Within CEPPI, partners will produce reports, guides and other tools of interest for public authorities implementing SPP and PPI practices, while relevant documents related to the cities’ procurement processes will be made available. Those who want to keep updated about the project are encouraged to subscribe to its newsletter through the online form.

For more information, visit the CEPPI website.
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15 January 2016

Early-bird discount for 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns to expire soon

There is just one month left to take advantage of the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns early-bird registration fee. Participants registered before 15 February 2016 will not only benefit from the reduced conference fee, they will also ensure a spot at the Break-out Session and Mobile Workshop of their choosing. These interactive programme elements will provide participants with the opportunity to learn first-hand about the Basque Country´s recent urban transformation, as well as providing a great opportunity to share different experiences and best practices.

The conference will take place from 27-29 April 2016 in the Basque Country. Among the latest confirmed speakers is Markku Markkula, President of the European Committee of the Regions (one of the official conference partners). A full list of latest confirmed speakers is available on the conference website.

The conference programme will reflect the latest in the field of sustainable development, including the Sustainable Development Goals, the results of COP 21 in Paris, and the emerging Urban Agenda for Europe, focusing on the pressing need for action by local governments to change unsustainable pathways and shape Europe's future. Get updates as they happen: @sustain_cities #Basque2016 and Facebook.

For more information, please contact basque2016@iclei.org.

14 January 2016

Indonesian Urban-LEDS delegation gains expertise on low carbon public transport in Warsaw

Delegates Naufal Isnaeni and Hariyadi Sukamto of the municipalities of Bogor and Balikpapan (Indonesia) visited Poland from 15 – 22 November 2015 as part of the Urban LEDS project to learn from Warsaw’s experience in low emission strategies. Of Warsaw’s extensive bus fleet, the delegates heard that 18 operate on liquefied natural gas, 10 are electric and a further 15 are fitted with photovoltaic panels. The carbon-neutral electric buses were found to be just as durable as diesel buses while being more fuel efficient and less noisy, representing a preferable option for replication in the delegates’ home cities.

Warsaw’s dedicated department for public bicycle hire ensures that the scheme is efficiently and effectively managed. Since its introduction in 2012, citizens have carried out over 6 million bicycle trips. With some adaptation to the Indonesian context, the public bicycle scheme was deemed to be replicable in Bogor. A visit to the automotive industry PIMOT revealed the city’s carbon-efficient biodiesel and electric vehicle technology. The Indonesian cities found that used cooking oil had potential as fuel, but the intervention of local government was necessary to ensure a stable supply.

Since the delegates returned to Indonesia with their findings, Warsaw has made a further exciting step in low carbon development. On December 10, 2015 the “Low-carbon Economy Action Plan for Warsaw” was approved by Warsaw City Council. It builds on the prior “Warsaw Sustainable Energy Action Plan”, and prioritises CO2 emission reduction, renewable energy, energy efficiency and expands the city’s air quality improvement activities.

For more information, visit Urban LEDS.
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13 January 2016

New factsheets provide clarity on bio-based products

The EU-funded InnProBio project has produced the first of a series of factsheets containing information on bio-based products and services. The publication helps to define bio-based products, providing an insight into the primary differences with traditional products.

The first factsheet highlights the benefits of bio-based products, such as their potential to reduce the economy’s dependence on fossil fuels, create green jobs in the European Union, and drive European innovation. The link between bio-based products and sustainability is also outlined.

The section From biomass to bio-based products shows, in a visual way, different biomass materials that can be used to create products (known as “feedstocks”), such as sugar, starch and natural rubber, as well as bio-based intermediates, such as fibres, polymers and composites, and bio-based end products. Factsheet #1 is available online. The InnProBio team is currently working on the next factsheets in the series.

For more information, visit the InnProBio website.

7 January 2016

ICLEI members provide examples of good practice in procuring low-carbon transport

The EU-funded TRANSFORM project has gathered examples of good practice in procuring low-carbon public transport in a series of publications. The project focussed on the experiences of ICLEI members Barcelona (Spain), Birmingham (United Kingdom) and Rotterdam (The Netherlands).

A final report explains the journey of the three cities as they incorporated innovative practices when procuring transport and mobility products and services. Two policy briefs have also been produced, discussing the policy issues around procurement in transport as well as the implications from evidence gathered through the pilots in the participating cities and stakeholder workshops.

Finally, the project has developed joint statements of demand, inviting European cities seeking clean urban transport solutions to join the project in communicating collective messages to the market.

For more information, visit transform-europe.eu
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6 January 2016

Copenhagen adopts smart, energy-efficient street lamps

ICLEI member Copenhagen’s (Denmark) outdoor street lamps are getting an upgrade, with 20,000 energy-efficient LED lamps to be installed in 2016. Energy savings of around 57 percent are expected, which is enough to power 4,500 homes in the Danish capital. In addition to saving energy, the new lights will be fitted with smart capabilities. Maintenance officials will be able to remotely dim or brighten the lamps, and will be automatically alerted if repairs are required.

The technology installed in the lamps will also enable it to detect approaching cyclists and shine extra light, improving journey safety. Around half of Copenhagen’s outdoor street lights will be replaced, with the local government deciding to sell the old models at auction, giving potential buyers the chance to own a piece of Copenhagen history.

The iconic, bowl-shaped lamps have proven extremely popular, with already 3,000 sold for an average of $100 apiece. The new smart lamps will adhere closely to the historic design, ensuring continuity in Copenhagen’s urban aesthetic. The decision to move to more energy efficient lamps is part of Copenhagen’s drive to be carbon neutral by 2025.

For more information, visit citylab.com.

4 January 2016

SPP Regions website launches

The newly launched SPP Regions website showcases the creation and strengthening of networks of public authorities focused on sustainable public procurement (SPP) and public procurement of innovation (PPI) in seven European regions.

The networks in Barcelona (Xarxa de Ciutats i Pobles cap a la Sostenibilitat), South West England (PIPEN), Bulgaria (Bulgarian SPPI Network), Copenhagen, Torino (APE), Metropolitan Region Rotterdam – The Hague, and West France (RGO) are co-operating on tendering for eco-innovative solutions and building capacity to implement sustainable and innovative purchasing practices.

The seven regional SPP networks will publish a total of 42 eco-innovative tenders focused on energy use in public buildings, vehicles and transport, and food and catering services. The goal is to achieve 54.3 GWh/year of primary energy savings and trigger 45 GWh/year of renewable energy. The SPP Regions website provides updated information about the different networks, as well as access to all the tools developed within the project. SPP Regions is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

For more information, visit the SPP Regions website.
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