Smart cities are now tangible urban areas that are transforming and constantly seeking increasingly advanced and sustainable solutions. In this context Endesa has joined the GrowSmarter project, promoted by the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 (H2020)program , the innovation plan launched throughout the European Union in the 2014-2020 period with a budget of around €80 billion.
Over the next five years, GrowSmarter's objective is to develop and test innovative systems aimed at increasing smart city efficiency and sustainability . The total funding provided by the EU for project implementation amounts to €43.3 million. During its implementation, the goal is to benefit the economy, creating up to 1,500 new jobs in Europe, and to identify and deliver the best solutions to other cities. The project's research areas include: transmission of advanced information and communications technologies, urban mobility and energy efficiency.
The three cities that have been chosen to be transformed into experimental “lighthouse cities” are Barcelona, Cologne and Stockholm. Endesa, the Enel Group Spanish utility, will work in the Catalan capital focusing its activity on electric mobility and energy efficiency. Specific areas of the city will be involved, as well as residential customers, small businesses and hotels.
The project's operational phase was launched in late April and will include the installation of five FASTO charging stations in Barcelona, a technology developed by the Enel Group that can simultaneously recharge up to three vehicles in 20-30 minutes. The Group will also manufacture three VG2 (Vehicle-to-Grid) stations, an innovative bi-directional system developed by Endesa, which can both recharge E-Cars and use its batteries as a storage system, allowing stored electricity to be fed back into the grid. The charging stations will be installed in parking areas and in a shopping centre in the Glories neighbourhood and will soon be used by a fleet of 20 full-electric taxis.
In terms of energy efficiency, a centralised urban block control system will be developed, through a single platform called “City-OS”, which will allow to collect and process information related to electricity consumption, transport and traffic. In this context, Endesa's activities will allow to test an energy efficiency system based on municipal facilities' consumption data aggregated analysis and on the improvement of resilience (the ability to respond to a critical situation) as well as city management, through the electrical distribution system.
The project consortium in which Endesa participates involves 38 other partners including Philips, IBM, Schneider and the Energy Research Institute of Catalonia (IREC).