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10th SmartEnCity Newsletter
  • Editorial
  • Progress in the SmartEnCity Lighthouse Cities
  • Sonderborg
  • Tartu
  • Vitoria-Gasteiz
  • Progress in the SmartEnCity Follower Cities
  • Asenovgrad
  • Lecce
  • Update from the work packages
  • News from the SmartEnCity Network
  • Past Events
  • Upcoming Events
  • News from our Sister Projects
  • About SmartEnCity / Project ID / Contact


Dear SmartEnCity Enthusiast,

This is a special edition of our newsletter because we have some special news: SmartEnCity project is going to be extended, the European Commission has just approved 12 more months!

The extension was necessary for several reasons, as in many of our sister projects, the Lighthouse and Follower Cities have been struggling with decision-making processes and replacement measures but most of all with the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected us all severely.

The additional 12 months give us the time we need to successfully complete the last remaining measures in the demo sites and, above all, to collect and evaluate the data from our activities.

We are very happy and will use this additional time to complete SmartEnCity thoroughly and with the high quality we are aiming at!

The focus of this newsletter is therefore around the last amendment (the official process with the EC that is required for contractual changes such as an extension). However, despite the circumstances of the pandemic, the SmartEnCity project partners have managed to continue working on the implementation of their ambitious goals to become a Smart City and achieve climate neutrality – which we will report upon as well.

As always, we hope you enjoy it!

Sincerely yours,

Francisco Rodríguez Pérez-Curiel and Silvia Urra Uriarte
Project Coordinators of SmartEnCity, TECNALIA Research & Innovation


The extension of the project has secured that five more housing association departments can now have solar cells and battery storage solutions implemented in due time to have a 12 month monitoring period within the overall project period for SmartEnCity. The extension also allows Sonderborg to improve its CIOP (City Information Open Platform) data exploration and associated citizen engagement ambitions, including the Green Ambassador program. 

Retrofitted housing association building with with roof integrated solar cells and battery storage solution. Credits@ProjectZero.

Retrofitted housing association building with roof integrated solar cells
and battery storage solution. Credits@ProjectZero.

Further news on the past months:

Another biogas plant for Lighthouse City Sonderborg. The establishment of Sonderborg's second biogas plant is in process. The plant is expected to be completed in 2022 and actively contributes to realising Sonderborg's Roadmap2025 climate ambitions. Read more.

ProjectZero launched the website ‘Become Climate Wise Sonderborg’ where everyone can explore how Sonderborg municipality plans to reach ZERO in 2029 through joint actions. The new website offers also access to Sonderborg’s City Information Open Platform (CIOP) where data and information can be found about how much electricity, water and heat selected buildings produce and use - in real time - about the municipality's wind turbines, charging stations for electric cars, etc. Read more.

Sonderborg continues the successful Green Ambassadors program in autoumn 2021, where residents of housing associations involved in SmartEnCity project are trained to promote the efforts regarding Sonderborg’s climate transition. Read more and more.

SmartEnCity project partner Sønderborg Forsyning has established a new waste management system. Now, Sonderborg is the first municipality in Denmark sorting waste into ten fractions. The goal is to recycle 50% of household waste by 2022. New electricity and biogas driven utility waste collection vehicles were implemented in fall 2020, sending a strong sustainability signal to the community. Strong citizen engagement and impressive results have been achieved. Read more.

The housing association SAB offers its residents now green electricity from solar energy and is renovating nine departments within SmartEnCity with roof integrated solar cells and battery storage solutions in the basement. Read more.


With the project extension, Tartu City and other local partners plan to finish the renovation of the final, 18th smartovka and conclude citizen engagement activities with a large public event for residents. The extra time will also be used for monitoring energy consumption in the newly renovated buildings and to finish the development of the smart home system. As an additional activity conceived as a result of budget changes, the City plans to install PV panels on the roofs of municipal buildings to increase the share of renewable energy in municipal consumption.

Renovated smartovka with wall painting “Animalitoland”. Credits @ Sirla

Further news on the past months:

Big milestone for Lighthouse City Tartu: After a public discussion with the citizens of Tartu, starting in November 2019 (read more), the new Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP) received more than 400 comments and suggestions from city residents and local organisations. The public input was thoroughly analysed and finally led to the new plan. Read more. On  1 April, the new SECAP of Tartu, “Tartu Energy 2030”, was officially accepted by the city municipal council. Read more.

Another success story are the new biogas buses which made 12 million trips last year, adding up to 4.5 million kilometers, saving 2,000 tons of CO2 emissions. Read more.

The smart home system is one of the last implementations to be completed in the newly renovated smartovkas. The project team invited housing associations both physically and virtually to discuss the latest software updates to the smart home system and to counter and address any concerns the house representatives may have. Read more. Later, all residents of the renovated apartment buildings in the Tartu SmartEnCity pilot area received the “Smart house resident’s handbook” and the smart home system manual offering instructions on how to use and maintain the new technologies and how to make the most out of their smart homes. Read more.

Tartu has captured its SmartEnCity efforts in an informative and entertaining video. Have a look and learn more about Tartu’s journey to become a Smart City.


Although the energy retrofitting works of the buildings will finish in the next months, 12 month extension of the project offers a great chance to take the rehabilitation project of Coronación demo district to the next level with the full deployment of the monitoring infrastructure that will allow to evaluate the retrofitting impact on comfort improvement, energy efficiency and CO2 emissions drop. All these data and conclusions will be shared with partners, professionals and neighbours through a fully deployed CIOP (City Information Open Platform) and the added value services developed within its framework.
At the same time, project continuation will show district heating’s performance during a full winter season and will bring mobility actions to their full development, including the Smart Electric Bus which implies a big milestone completing the first full-electrification of a bus line in the City.

Before and after, new façades in Aldabe street 26. Credits@VISESA.

Further news on the past months:

Big success in Lighthouse City Vitoria Gasteiz: With SmartEnCity project facing its last phase, remaining buildings under retrofitting works are reaching their final status and new façades show up almost every month. It is expected that all remaining blocks will be finished in the next months and, by then, the district will finally show its final attractive and energy-efficient appearance. Read more.

In relation to this, the District Heating deployment is progressing as well. At the beginning of 2021, the respective indoor works have been publicly tendered and awarded. Those indoor works include the connection of the buildings to the District Heating Network that is currently being deployed through the streets, the adaptation of indoor piping networks and the installation of heat exchangers in substitution of individual or centralised gas and diesel boilers in buildings and dwellings. Read more.

As one of the last SmartEnCity activities in Vitoria-Gasteiz, the new bus Line 2 with 13 state of the art Smart Electric Buses (BEI) are expected to enter in operation in summer 2021. Read more.

Progress in the Follower Cities 


Asenovgrad is on its way to a zero-carbon future: The Municipality endorsed its commitment to sustainable development through the adoption of its Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (IECP), setting the vision of Asenovgrad as a carbon-neutral city by 2050. This document incorporates all sectors and fields of municipal development. The final version of the document was voted by the Municipal Council on 27 January 2021, which marked an important milestone on the way towards a zero-carbon future of the municipality. Read more.


In the extra upcoming 12 months of the project, Lecce will share its experience as a Follower City with the member cities of the SmartEnCity Network, especially with the Italian cities. In the future, focused events, as the next Sonderborg Climate Neutrality Conference in September 2021, the activities carried out during the project will be presented, especially the development of the IEP and the Roadmaps related to the implementation of some specific key actions within 2030.

Further news on the past months:

Follower City Lecce had two important events in connection with SmartEnCity project: On 11 April, SmartEnCity was in the focus of the local event "The renewable energy in the future" and during a "Smart Talk" on 27 April, SmartEnCity representatives gave insights on project activities and results to students and other interested audience. Read more.


Opportunities and plans for the extra 12 months project duration from the perspective oth the work packages:

Work package 7: Monitoring and Evaluation

From the point of view from monitoring and evaluation, the last 12 months of the project will be full of activity and interrelations amongst the project partners. We have been all working hard to get to this stage of SmartEnCity, prepared to assess all the achievements attained on the Lighthouse Cities. At the end of the project, we will be able to give concrete numbers to this success story. We will be working on checking all data collected along the project and will finally be able to calculate all actions KPIs and city impact indicators for our three Lighthouse Cities for the final evaluation of the fulfilment of the objectives of SmartEnCity project. “We know it can be hard, but we have been all working and preparing ourselves for this.”

Work package 8: Replication to Followers and Smart Cities Network

Our cities and experts have been working hard in work package focusing on replication since the beginning of the project in order to establish a journey towards smart zero CO2 cities and provide guidance, tools and peer support for strategic integrated planning and implementation. The last year is dedicated to reflecting back the hard work done and finalise and package the learnings into a user friendly replication toolkit. This toolkit will be one of the core outcomes from the replication work package presented in an interactive way as a journey map on our website. Its purpose is to give the reader a compact, quick and easily captured understanding of important phases in integrated energy planning and implementation together with quickly captured tools and advice from real time practices. We will also assess the SmartEnCity network activities and inspiration given to other cities as well as continue our cooperation with our sister projects in common working groups and plan SmartEnCity network activities during the Sonderborg conference in September 2021 (find details below).

SmartEnCity Network

News from the SmartEnCity Network

The 12 month extension of the SmartEnCity project provides our Network with a possibility for further expansion and continuous outreach to valuable ‘know how’s’ from the Lighthouse Cities to more following cities. It also provides an opportunity for the national SmartEnCity networks to further develop and recover from the COVID-19 restrictions based delays as these networks rely on constant exchange based on actions which were hindered during the pandemic.

Further news on the past months:

  • Our project is reaching its final phase and SmartEnCity Network is welcoming its 58th  member: Haapsalu, Estonia. All members have the opportunity to take part in the SmartEncity Check-up Assessment and to get feedback on their strategic energy planning process from one of our SmartEnCity experts.
  • As usual, SmartEnCity Network member get informed on Network-related news by the SmartEnCity Network Bulletin, which is coming up every eight weeks.
  • To enhance replication, the national networks meet and exchange regularly. Read about Energibyerne (national SmartEnCity Network) that met virtually at the beginning of November 2020 for a two-day marathon discussion. And the Estonian Smart City Club, which met virtually and was introducing the newest member – Pärnu - to the community.

SAVE THE DATE: In cooperation with SmartEnCity project, partner ProjectZero is busy with planning a major two-days event on 28-29 September 2021, the Sonderborg Climate Neutrality Conference, focusing on the results of SmartEnCity project and its replication potential. For more information and registration, click here.

Past Events

Upcoming Events

News from our Sister Projects

  • ATELIER: In Lighthouse City Amsterdam, the groundworks at the demo district Republica are progressing well. Watch their live webcam to get a glimpse into the construction site or read on their (Dutch) blog about the latest developments.

About SmartEnCity / Project ID / Contact
SmartEnCity, a project funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, aims to develop a systemic approach for transforming European cities into sustainable, smart and resource-efficient urban environments. We aim to develop strategies that can be replicated throughout Europe in order to reduce energy demand and maximise renewable energy supply in urban environments. Activities include retrofitting in buildings, integration of infrastructures, developing sustainable mobility options, as well as the intelligent deployment and use of Information and Communication Technologies.The SmartEnCity concept will be defined, planned and implemented in three Lighthouse demonstrators Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain), Tartu (Estonia) and Sonderborg (Denmark). The process will be replicated in the two Follower cities of Lecce (Italy), and Asenovgrad (Bulgaria). We will encourage a SmartEnCity Network of further cities interested replicating the approach elsewhere in Europe. Under the coordination of TECNALIA Research & Innovation, 35 partners from 6 countries work together to make Smart Zero Carbon Cities a reality in Europe.


Duration: 66 months (February 2016 – July 2021)
Partners: 35 partners from 6 countries (Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Spain), coordinated by TECNALIA Research & Innovation
Call identifier: H2020-SCC-2015
Topic: SCC-01-2015 Smart Cities and Communities solutions integrating energy, transport, ICT sectors through lighthouse (large scale demonstration – first of the kind) projects

SmartEnCity Project Coordinator:
TECNALIA Research & Innovation
Francisco Rodríguez Pérez-Curiel / Silvia Urra Uriarte (Project Coordinators)
E-mail: francisco.rodriguez@tecnalia.com / silvia.urra@tecnalia.com
Phone: +34 946 430 850
SmartEnCity Website

Press Contact

Bettina Remmele
E-Mail: remmele[at]steinbeis-europa.de
Phone: +49 711 123 4048

Editorial Contact:
Heike Iffland
E-Mail: iffland[at]steinbeis-europa.de
Phone: +49 711 123 4028

Picture sources: respective Lighthouse Cities

The SmartEnCity newsletter is published every six months, informing about the project and its news. Register for the newsletter on our project website: SmartEnCity Website

SmartEnCity communication channels online – Stay in touch!

After the first six project months, the main SmartEnCity communication channels are now online and working.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 691883.

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