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UNITRENTO PARTICIPATES IN THE HORIZON 2020 PEARLS PROJECT: A NETWORK OF UNIVERSITIES AND BUSINESSES FROM MEDITERRANEAN EUROPE AND ISRAEL
The Social Acceptance of Renewable Energy Landscapes
by Anna Codemo, Rossano Albatici, Bruno
PhD candidate and Professors of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering (DICAM) of the University of Trento.
Last 6th October, the University of Trento published on its website an article about the PEARLS Project and its participation as a research group in the framework of WP3 y WP4, whose experimental case will be in the city of Trento to investigate the use of passive and active measures to regenerate the built environment and to understand the citizens’ resistance to energy efficiency and the use of renewable resources.
Renewable Energy Landscapes are characterized by the presence of infrastructures and facilities that are necessary to generate renewable energy. Planning these landscapes is difficult in terms of design and social acceptance, and these issues are exacerbated by the commitment of the European Union to shift to a low-carbon economy. Many renewable energy plants are large-scale plants, often built on natural or agricultural areas, which change the landscape and its perception.
Italy has a wealth of renewable energy plants that exploit different resources in different areas, with biomass and hydro plants in the north, for the most part, while wind farms are more prevalent in the south. Italy is committed to achieve the European Union goal of increasing energy production from renewable sources by 30% by 2030, and this will require the development and strengthening of the energy infrastructure, including distributed energy sources and large facilities. These investments promote a transition that is centred on citizens and businesses, encouraging self-consumption, energy cooperatives and market transparency.
Renewables and the acceptance of renewable energy landscapes are two crucial elements of energy policies and are the basis of the approach of social sciences to bring about a change in the
This transition will not be smooth, as it requires actions to improve space planning and social innovation processes.
You can read the complete article here:
On Sunday, March 1, the PEARLS Project’s results, obtained during the WP4 Secondment of Mrs. Sofia Spyridonidou (AUTh) to SP Interface (Mrs. Hagit Ulanovsky and Mr. Daniel Madar), were introduced at the Heschel Center for Sustainability (NGO), State of Israel. Following the first presentation at the Ministry of Energy in Israel (February 24), this is the second event organised for disseminating the results of the aforementioned secondment. In this event, 11 Core Members of the Energy Group of the Heschel Center for Sustainability attended alongside the following researchers of PEARLS: S. Spyridonidou (Presenter, AUTh); G. Sismani (AUTh) and D. Madar (SP Interface). Participants of the NGO highlighted the importance of the conducted research for Israel as well as the scientific added value of the work. The representatives of this NGO expressed also a strong interest in following the updates of the proposed research as it is strongly related to the objectives and activities of their organisation.
Last Monday, 24 of February, the PEARLS project’s results, obtained during the WP4 secondment of Mrs. Sofia Spyridonidou (AUTh) to SP Interface (Mrs. Hagit Ulanovsky and Mr. Daniel Madar), were presented at the Ministry of Energy, State of Israel. The secondment focuses on the development of a Sustainable Spatial Energy Plan (SSEP) for Israel at National Spatial Planning Scale, in order to identify the most appropriate, sustainable, technically and economically viable solutions for realizing new RE projects (Onshore wind turbines and PV technologies) in the country. The above objective was achieved by developing an innovative methodological framework, where the following aspects were considered: (i) the relevant features of a sustainable siting analysis (i.e. social, economic, environmental, political, technical parameters), (ii) the public, local experts’ and RE planners’ opinion and (iii) the outcomes of a field investigation in the highly suitable sites.
Since the present work could efficiently support the local policy makers, an official meeting with the Ministry of Energy was organized for presenting the relevant results. In this meeting, the Head of R&D Division and Acting Chief Scientist as well as the Head of Technologies and Renewable Energies of the Ministry of Energy attended along with the following researchers of PEARLS: S. Spyridonidou (Presenter, AUTh), G. Sismani (AUTh), H. Ulanovsky (SP Interface), D. Madar (SP Interface) and N. Teschner (BGU). The presentation triggered a fruitful discussion between the participants, and the representatives of the Ministry of Energy expressed a strong interest in materializing the proposed research in the future.
PEARLS has been selected for having the potential in its research result to help the European Institutions to fight back climate change. In order to disseminating the exploitable results of our investigation, the European Commission has launched an online platform through which every selected project can bring forward some of the results they have been producing through this call.
More than 1.000 results have already been promoted since its launching took place last December with topics being treated which vary from engineering solutions against climate change to social sciences approaches to this matter. This proves the great diversification of funds that this call is willing to relocate and the level of commitment of these institutions against climate change. Reaching the general public is one of the main concerns that European institutions are now trying to deal with, and this platform is one of the measures that could help to achieve this purpose. Even though, this platform is also a way of putting in contact different actors of the movement against climate change.
Some of the cartographical and 3D monitoring tools on REL developed by our team are already uploaded to the Horizon 2020 Platform Result and available for the general public under consultation, but our consortium is still working on exploitable results that could be included in here. We will continue working on this matter and will let you know as soon as we have more results uploaded.
The second SC Meeting of the European Project PEARLS has taken place in the Meeting Room of the Faculty of History and Geography in the University of Seville. After the first meeting that took place in the Institute of Social Sciences in Lisbon, this year the reach of the foreseen objectives has been analysed in order to contribute to the optimal execution of PEARLS. Participants debated a previously agreed agenda proposed by the coordinator of the project. The topics addressed a double component, on the one side specifically scientist topics; on the other hand, everything related to PEARLS organisation and management. The Steering Committee is composed by the seven Work Packages leaders: A. Delicado from the ICSUL of Lisbon as leader of WP 5; M. J. Prados as coordinator of the Project and co-leader of WP’s 1 & 2 from the University of Seville; R. Albaticci, also in WP 1 in representation of the University of Trento; C. Rojo as responsible of WP 3 representing CLANER; and E. Loukogeorgaki in WP 4 from the University of Thessaloniki. For her part, Dr. N. Teschner from Ben-Gurion University co-leaders WP 2 and followed the session via skype. Work Packages leaders are at the same time national representatives of the Project, which ensures the proper representation of their teammates in the Steering Committee and the correct development of the activities and secondments foreseen for each package. The meeting also counted with the attendance of Ms. A. Arrabal, as administrative manager of the project, and other members of the Portuguese and Spanish team in an advisory capacity.
Last 18th October, the midterm meeting of the Project was held on the Malaga’s Entrepreneurs Association. The H2020 MSCA-RISE sets out the obligatory nature of undertaking a midterm meeting to assess the progresses made on the different tasks to be developed during the project. Unlike the previous ones, the target of this meeting was to analyse the achievement of the standards of excellence established by the program, as well as to check the implementation of the Project and to evaluate the impact reached by its results. To this effect, the meeting counted with the presence of the representative of the Advisory Board Ms. Alessandra Scognamiglio and Ms. Aleksandra Schoetz-Sobzcak, Project Officer of the Research European Agency. Her main mission was to take the pulse of the Project, auditing all the Work Packages tasks and the involvement of all parties on their development. For that, the meeting counted with a representative of every academic and non-academic institution involved.
This plural institutional coverage alongside the diversity of thematic and territorial approaches suppose an enrichment for knowledge transfer, while at the same time an asset for the development of results and products applicable beyond the academic field. Moreover, the timing of this session was crucial since, with almost three years remaining to complete the Project, a ponderation of the different tasks to be tackled was needed. Overall, the perceptions were quite positive by both the European Commission and the Consortium, which undoubtedly stimulates us to continue analysing the Renewable Energy Landscapes (REL) as both; key pillars and icons of the Ecological Transition towards a sustainable energy model in terms of environment, social and economic aspects.
The second Project’s Steering Committee Meeting was hold by Skype on 5th June. The University of Seville –USE- hosted it. The following participants were involved in the meeting: M.J. Prados as coordinator and also R. Garcia as University-based administrator (USE); A. Delicado (ICSUL); E. Loukogeorgaki (AUTH); Rossano Albatici and Bruno Zanon (UNITN) and Naama Teschner (BGU). The meeting lasted for an hour approximately. As proposed by the Coordinator and seconded by the Project Officer, members debated an agreed schedule and pending tasks proposed in the last SCM in Lisbon such as key terms for a Project’s glossary, WP Methodological Reports, protocols and the preparation of an expert list for a Follow-up questionnaire were discussed. Also, it was arranged that the Project Mid-Term meeting will be held in Malaga in October and a next secondment reassignment. Besides, it was noticed that two notes introducing the Project were produced recently and sent to an academic journal and a specialized web. USE suggested establishing a wider network related to Renewable Energy and Renewable Energy Landscapes. Related to online atlas, it was discussed only eventual changes and it is fully operational currently. To sum up, it can be told it was quite fruitful, satisfying and nice meeting.
The Instituto de Ciências Sociais de Lisboa –ICS– has hosted the Project’s first Steering Committee meeting. It is the SC’s duty to guarantee that the Project’s goals are met, to foresee and prevent risks and, in the final instance, to contribute optimally to the execution of PEARLS. The committee is formed of the following WP leaders: M.J. Prados as coordinator and co-leader of WPs 1 & 2 (USE); R. Albatricci, acting as Deputy Chair, and B. Zanon as joint coordinators of WP1 (UNITN); and C. Rojo (CLANER, coordinator of WP3), E. Loukogeorgaki (AUTHN, of WP4) and A. Delicado (ICSUL, of WP5), as leaders of WPs 3, 4 and WP5, respectively. Also involved in the meeting were A. Arrabal, as leader of the PEARLS Management Coordinator Support Team and N. Mendes from ICSUL, as head of administration. WP leaders also acted as country representatives. They are responsible for ensuring that their partners are represented and spoken for in the SC, and the correct development of activities and secondments in the WPs. The coordinator is also pledged to communicating all decisions to Israel as a Third Country and keeping in regular contact with the Advisory Board.
The meeting was held over two sessions, on 4th and 5th February. As proposed by the Coordinator and seconded by the Project Officer, members debated an agreed schedule. The first session was devoted to scientific matters and the second to Project organisation and management. The main results consisted of proposed work outlines coordinated between WP leaders to clarify which work has to be carried out during secondments and how participants can help to strengthen results and the Project’s expected impact. Particular topics discussed included the secondment map for next year and the reinforcement of communication of the first results using web tools, such as an online atlas. The atlas will contain a collection of study cases of good practices in Renewable Energy Landscapes –REL– in all the countries involved in the Project. It was very satisfying to see all the SC members in Lisbon last week. I think we had a very good meeting indeed. The next SCM will be held in Seville next year.
The Brazilian Pavilion has hosted the launch of the project holding the Kick off Meeting. Academic partners, companies, associations and consultants from Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece and Israel participated in the event. In addition, this Meeting was attended by PhD students, visiting lecturers and research groups from University of Seville, concerned by the links between Social Sciences and Renewable Energy. After the ceremonial introduction addressed by the Vice-rectory for Innovation and Knowledge Transfer, the European Commission’s Science and Knowledge Service of Joint Research Centre in Seville was invited to present the Smart Specialisation Platform on Energy. The synergies between this Smart Platform and the PEARLS Project are evident, so it is expected joint collaborations to take place.
The Kick Off Meeting has enabled the exchange information about the Grant Agreement compliance, the conditions of implementation and funding of the project, and familiarisation with SYGMA platform. Above all though, it has been a splendid opportunity to establish the first face to face contacts between all the participants who will keep a close and productive collaboration along the next four years.
The PEARLS beneficiaries have received this message. It has been exactly three months since we submitted PEARLS proposal and they have confirmed us that the proposal is accepted. It was Na’ama Teschner from University of Haifa who sounded the alert. At the same time, there were messages about some phishing attempts coming from the Participant Portal. After a few minutes of surprise, the truth is that PEARLS Project has secured funding. Let’s work!
Address: Avda. Ciudad Jardin, 20/22, 1ª pta. 41005 Sevilla (España)
Funded by: Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions. H2020 Research Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE)
Project Number: 778039 - PEARLS