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Climate Fund’s initiative on Smart Cities

The Climate and Energy Fund’s initiative on Smart Cities is aiming to initiate major demonstration and pilot projects, which pursue the integration of existing or already well-developed technologies and systems into innovative, interactive total systems.

Programme Strategy

The Climate and Energy Fund’s vision for the Smart Cities initiative with its annual calls for applications is the first implementation of a "smart city" or a "smart urban region" in which technical and social innovations are used and combined in an intelligent way in order to maintain or optimize the quality of life. Through the use of intelligent green technology, an urban section, residential area, settlement or region in Austria is to become a "zero emission city" or "zero urban region." 

The central strategic objectives of the realization of sustainable energy supply in an urban context are increase in energy efficiency, increase of the proportion of renewable energy sources and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Smart city development requires here intelligent, networked and integrated solutions for the sustainable production, distribution and use of energy in urban areas.

This is achieved through the interconnected view of various infrastructure levels (buildings/building complexes, grids, energy supply etc.) in city districts and quarters or within settlements or regions. Urban transformation processes are to be initiated in the areas of energy technology and smart infrastructure, which will, at the city level, interconnect integrated energy planning, intelligent planning and the operation of thermal and electrical grids, energy-efficient interactive buildings (building complexes) and optimized renewable energy supply technologies. The medium-term goal is to carry out large-scale demonstration projects throughout Austria, which will include a set of measures regarding existing buildings ("Retrofit") as well as new buildings.

The Climate and Energy Fund’s Smart Cities initiative, which is being conducted over several years, clearly focuses on the implementation of such "systems of systems." Thus, technological development that allows for the interaction and networking between individual technical systems is particularly of essential importance. Special importance is attached to thematic openness with regard to the choice of technologies (for example for energy generation, efficiency, storage, communication, mobility etc.)  Apart from the strategic focus on energy-relevant technologies, other important aspects include urban mobility (particularly public transportation) and information and communication technologies in order to do the urban region justice as a system and "vitalized" living space. New concepts of social innovation are to be used to include all relevant players with their distinct interests and competences in the transformation process and, for example, to integrate them as a test group. Furthermore, the Smart Cities initiative creates opportunities to prepare Austrian companies for participation in the "European Industrial Initiatives" as part of the "Strategic Energy Technology Plan" ("SET Plan"). This was also kept in mind for the orientation of the programme strategies toward the European Research Strategy for Smart Cities.

Programme Objectives

To meet the Climate and Energy Fund’s main strategic objectives, the following programme objectives were defined in accordance with the programme’s focus:

1. Using urban regions as testbed:

Intelligent, networked, and integrated solutions for sustainable generation and distribution of energy are being tested, observed, further developed and, through the use of goal indicators, assessed as models in urban areas

2. Achieving optimization of the individual system/ system solution:

Viewing technical and social systems as total systems makes it possible to optimize individual components, technologies etc. through interaction and networking. Thematically, buildings (building complexes), energy grids, supply and disposal, urban mobility as well as information and communication technologies are regarded as relevant fields of action.

3. Generating added value compared to individual systems/system solutions:

Smart systems/solutions/sets of measures generate added value through the creation of interfaces – with regard to structure, organization, technology, processes, methods etc. New concepts of social innovation are also to be used here.

smartcities: Funding