"If there are to be problems, may they come during my life-time so that I can resolve them and give my children the chance of a good life."

Kenyan proverb
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

Buckminster Fuller, philosopher, futurist and global thinker (1895 - 1983)
"Then I say the Earth belongs to each generation during its course, fully and in its right no generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of its existence"

Thomas Jefferson, September 6, 1789
Water, Energy and Environment in the scope of the Circular Economy
Wed / 07.09. @ 11:30
The objective of the presentation is to discuss the Research and Innovation aspects of the new European package on Circular Economy. The European Commission has recently adopted an ambitious Circular Economy Package to stimulate Europe's transition towards a circular economy. This Package establishes a concrete and ambitious programme of action, with measures covering the whole cycle: from production and consumption to waste management and the market for secondary raw materials. The proposed actions will contribute to "closing the loop" of product lifecycles through greater recycling and re-use, and bring benefits for both the environment and the economy. This new plan to make Europe’s economy cleaner and more competitive contains ambitious measures to cut resource use, reduce waste and boost recycling with a positive effect as far as Water, Energy and Environment. Innovation plays a key part in this systemic change. In order to rethink our ways of producing and consuming, and to transform waste into high value-added products, new technologies, processes, services and business models are need. The Horizon 2020 work programme includes a major initiative: "Industry 2020 in the circular economy", which will grant over €650 million for innovative demonstration projects that support the objectives of the circular economy and industrial competitiveness in the EU in a wide range of industrial and service activities, including process industries, manufacturing, and new business models. It also explores a pilot approach to help innovators facing regulatory obstacles, by setting up agreements with stakeholders and public authorities ('innovation deals'). This initiative adds to a wide range of existing Horizon 2020 programmes supporting innovative projects relevant to the circular economy, in fields such as waste prevention and management, food waste, remanufacturing, sustainable process industry, industrial symbiosis, and the bio economy.  Important R&I funding opportunities are also available under the Cohesion Policy, LIFE, COSME and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). The presentation starts with a brief description of the Circular Economy package and of the Horizon 2020 Program. The importance of Research and Innovation in the Circular Economy Package is discussed and the way Circular Economy is included in Horizon 2020 is described. The synergies between Horizon2020 and other funds such as Cohesion Funds, LIFE, COSME and the EFSI are debated. The pilot approach for "innovation deals" to identify and address potential regulatory obstacles for innovators will be described.

Prof. Maria da Graça Carvalho
Instituto Superior Técnico
Lisbon, Portugal

Prof. Maria G. Carvalho is Senior Adviser in the european Commission. She was a member of the European Parliament, EPP group from 2009-2014 (member of the ITRE-Industry, Research and Energy Committee, substitute member of the Budgets Committee, substitute member of the SURE-Special committee on the policy challenges and budgetary resources for a sustainable European Union after 2013 and member of the ACP-UE Joint Parliamentary Assembly). She was elected co-President of the Economic Development, Finance and Trade Committee of ACP-UE Joint Parliamentary Assembly. She was Principal Adviser in the areas of Science, Higher Education, Innovation, Research Policy, Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development in the Bureau of European Policy Advisers, a Department of the European Commission reporting directly to the President of the Commission. She is a Full Professor at the Mechanical Engineering Department of IST-Instituto Superior Técnico (University of Lisbon) since June 1992. In 1983 she obtained her Ph.D. at the Imperial College in London. She has participated in and coordinated a large number of international R & D Projects. She has over 500 publications in Scientific Journals, Books and International Conferences Proceedings to her credit. Her main research field is Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development. She was Minister of Science and Higher Education of the XV and XVI Constitutional Government of Portugal, a Director-General of GRICES-Office and Deputy President of the Portuguese Association of Engineers. She is a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science She is a member of 22 national and international scientific associations and fellow of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and of American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Role and value of flexibility in facilitating secure and cost effective transition to a lower carbon energy system
Mon / 05.09. @ 11:30
In the context of the key challenges associated with decarbonisation of energy system this talk will examine the importance of flexibility and system integration in facilitating cost effective and secure transition to lower carbon energy systems. This will involve presenting quantitative evidence associated with the benefits that emerging flexible technologies can provide, covering time scales from real time system operation to multi-year investment horizons across local and international energy infrastructures. Furthermore, the importance of the whole-systems approach will be discussed, particularly in the context of effectiveness of the future energy infrastructure operation and development, while considering uncertainties in deployment of low carbon technologies. The presentation will also identify associated market, regulation and policy challenges that will need to be addressed to ensure security and effectiveness of future low carbon energy systems.

Prof. Goran Strbac
Imperial College
London, United Kingdom

Goran Strbac is a Professor of Energy Systems, with extensive experience in advanced modelling and analysis of operation, planning, security and economics of energy systems. He led the development of novel advanced analysis approaches and methodologies that have been extensively used to inform industry, governments and regulatory bodies abut the role and value of emerging new technologies and systems in supporting cost effective evolution to smart low carbon future. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the SmartGrids European Technology Platform, co-chair of EU WG on Sustainable Districts and Built Environment of Smart Cities, Director of the UK Centre for Grid Scale Energy Storage, participates in working groups and committees within CIGRE, CIRED IET, IEEE and IEA.

Islands as References of Circular Economy Models: Potentials and Challenges
Tue / 06.09. @ 11:30
The strategic value of Islands as natural laboratories for the implementation of innovative sustainable development models has been generally undervalued so far. Their isolation generates big technical and socioeconomic challenges, which strengthens their position as excellent test beds for new sustainable solutions. In the energy sector, the “insular dimension” makes Islands potential frontrunners in low carbon initiatives (e.g. showcases of innovative energy storage solutions, needed if strategies for maximum penetration of renewable energy sources are to be successfully implemented). The same may apply to the water sector, where desalination systems, considered as non-critical/deferrable loads, could contribute through Demand Management to peak shaving of an island electrical demand curve. Islands need also to advance in implementing solutions in the waste sector, aiming at a general goal of 100% recycling/energy recovery. Furthermore, Islands may be perfect exponents of  blue economy models (coastal environment preservation, biotechnology based on generally rich biodiversity and excellence of natural resources, etc.), small scale sustainable technologies (e.g. bioenergy, mainly exploited at large scale so far), and can also constitute excellent observatories of climate change impact indicators. The presentation will examine the potentials and challenges of Islands as references of circular economy models (100% renewable energies, 100% sustainability of the water cycle, 100% waste recycling/energy recovery, etc.) and also how other regions worldwide (continental as well as remote ones of less developed countries) may benefit from this vision. This analysis will be carried out based on the experience accumulated during the last 20 years in the Canary Islands (Spain), and particularly on two of them: a) El Hierro (10.000 inhabitants), an island fully committed to sustainable development, where in 2014 a power station capable to supply the entire island exclusively by renewable energies was successfully put in operation; and b) La Graciosa (<1.000 inhabitants), where several initiatives are being undertaken in order to convert it in the next 100% sustainable Canary island.

Mr. Gonzalo Piernavieja Izquierdo
Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias
Canary Islands, Spain

Gonzalo Piernavieja holds a Degree in Physics (University of Munich, Germany) and a Masters Degree in Energy and Environmental Management (Technical University of Berlin, Germany). His professional career started at Munich's energy supply company (Stadtwerke München), where he contributed to set up one of the first grid connected photovoltaic installations in Germany (1991/2). In 1993 he returned to the Canary Islands to work as manager in renewable energy and water projects at the Process Engineering Department of the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. In 1996 he joined the Canary Islands Institute of Technology (ITC) as Coordinator of the Solar Energy Department. Currently, Mr. Piernavieja is the Director of ITC's R&D&I Division, which carries out applied research activities in emerging technological fields (renewable energies, water technologies, biotechnology, environmental technologies, biomedical-, mechanical- and software-engineering). The Division has 9 Departments with a total staff of 110 persons; its Renewable Energies Department carries out energy planning consultancy services to the Regional Government of the Canary Islands and other institutions.


Benchmarking the performance of cities across energy, water and environment systems
related metrics presents an opportunity to trigger policy learning, action, and cooperation to bring cities closer to sustainable development.