SmartEnCity Academy for Zero Carbon Transition

"The SmartEnCity Academy for Zero Carbon Transition” was an online training course for cities, municipalities and smart decision making.

In 2020, SmartEnCity hosted a series of four online training courses to learn from the experiences of the SmartEnCity project partners as well as selected external professionals from the field.

The aim of the SmartEnCity Academy was to follow the straightforward steps of the “Cities4ZERO Urban Transformation Strategy for Cities’ Decarbonisation”, a strategy developed as part of the SmartEnCity project. It has been designed to qualify city and municipality representatives, planners and developers as ambassadors for a carbon free future and to provide them with the necessary tools to help their cities reach their goals of decarbonisation in the near future.

In four interactive sessions with hands-on examples, the speakers took interested participants by the hand and explained the methodologies step by step, thus encouraging the participants to start their own smart zero carbon transition today. Moreover, especially invited external guest speakers from the Smart City community, such as experts from the sister Smart Cities and Communities projects or the related initiatives SCIS or EIP-SCC, brought in additional expertise.

The format of the lessons was clear explanations and practical examples from real life combined with interactive exchanges. The SmartEnCity Academy was different in that interested participants will be directly addressed before, during, in-between and after the individual lessons, in order to identify and meet their cities’ needs. At registration, participants were invited to fill in a short assessment questionnaire in order to receive tailor-made advice from the SmartEnCity experts, experienced Lighthouse- and Follower City representatives and professionals from industry and politics.

Participants that successfully attend all four lessons of the online training course receive a SmartEnCity certificate signed by the Project Coordinator.

Lesson 1: The SmartEnCity Way towards Zero Carbon City: The Cities4ZERO Strategy and Integrated Energy Planning

Date: 20. February 2020 at 2 PM

Watch recording of lesson 1 here

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Content: Moderated by Koldo Urrutia Azcona of TECNALIA Research & Innovation, this Panel Discussion with various SmartEnCity experts will introduce you to the Cities4ZERO Urban Transformation Strategy for Cities’ Decarbonisation (the Cities4ZERO Strategy) and Integrated Energy Planning (IEP). There will be a focus on the SmartEnCity Lighthouse Cities Sonderborg, Tartu and Vitoria-Gasteiz, speaking about their individual ways of approaching this journey.


  • Aitor Albaina Vivanco, City of Vitoria-Gasteiz, Lighthouse City Vitoria-Gasteiz
  • Jaanus Tamm, Tartu City Government, Lighthouse City Tartu
  • Peter Rathje, ProjectZero, Lighthouse City Sonderborg

Lesson 2: Mastering Governance & Political Barriers: Engage and Integrate

Date: 14 April 2020 at 2 PM CEST

Watch recording of lesson 2 here

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Content: Moderated by Francisco Rodríguez Pérez-Curiel of TECNALIA Research & Innovation, Project Coordinator of SmartEnCity, this Panel Discussion with political representatives from the SmartEnCity Lighthouse Cities Sonderborg, Tartu and Vitoria-Gasteiz will focus on how governance can be secured through organizational setups.


  • Juan Carlos Escudero, City Council, Lighthouse City Vitoria-Gasteiz
  • Raimond Tamm, Deputy Mayor, Lighthouse City Tartu
  • Peter Rathje, ProjectZero, Lighthouse City Sonderborg

External Guest Speaker:

  • Baha Kuban, Demir Enerji (Remourban)


Lesson 3: Where Are We Now? City Analysis and Diagnosis

Date: 04 June 2020 at 2 PM CEST

Watch recording of lesson 3 here

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Content: This third training course will be moderated by Michele de Santis from RINA Consulting S.p.A. It is focusing on the needs to be included in a city description according to the Paris Agreement, SmartEnCity, Covenant of Mayors, etc. and according to the visions of the cities. We will present the elements that we have included in the baselines and diagnoses in our three Lighthouse Cities, with a focus on Sonderborg. Follower City Asenovgrad will talk about their local approach.


  • Ivanka Pandelieva-Dimova, Sofia Energy Centre, Follower City Asenovgrad
  • Simon Stendorf Sørensen, PlanEnergi, Lighthouse City Sonderborg

External Guest Speaker:

  • Alis Daniela Torres, Climate Action and Smart Cities - Monitoring, Reporting and Verification Expert - Task Force 5. European Covenant of Mayors.

Lesson 4: Envision and Planning: The SmartEnCity Planning Process

Date: 22 September 2020 at 2 PM CEST

Watch recording of lesson 4 here

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Content: This final training course will be illustrating how the planning process in practice has been used in the SmartEnCity Lighthouse Cities Tartu and Vitoria-Gasteiz. What are the obstacles for actions and how are they solved? Additionally, we will present the approach from our Follower City Lecce.


  • Merit Tatar, Institute of Baltic Studies, Lighthouse City Tartu
  • Michele De Santis, RINA Consulting S.p.A, Follower City Lecce
  • Alberto Ortiz De Elgea Olasolo, VISESA, Lighthouse City Vitoria-Gasteiz

External Guest Speaker:

  • Judith Borsboom-van Beurden, Locality Europe & EIP-SCC

Overview of Cities4ZERO strategy, the process and its 16 steps. (click to open)

Figure: Cities4Zero Strategy. The Cities4Zero process and 16 steps. (Credits:Koldo Urrutia Azcona, Tecnalia, 2019)

Costs? No Costs!

The online training course was free of charge and neither the course itself nor signing up for it comes with any obligations. We just want to share our knowledge with the world!