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NICE: Mediterranean’s Epicenter of Energy, Environment and Economic Development?

Nice is banking on the fact that the valley will provide an unequaled model for leadership and practice with regard to aligning its development strategy to align with the European Commission’s 20/2020 goals. But how far can this valley project its smart & green credentials? Aren’t valley’s by definition, isolated micro-environments?

Major of Nice, National Deputy, and Chairman of Nice Côte d’Azur Metropole, Christian Estrosi believes that the "Green City on the Mediterranean will set an ecological example on a European Scale." Judging by the industry firepower the project has attracted so far, the critics will be hard pressed to prove Estrosi wrong.

The magnetic appeal of the ‘Green City’ has attracted the attention of municipal and industry leaders from across the continent since it’s inception. September 26 – 28, Nice many of the same leaders will join Mayor Estrosi in force to discuss integrating ‘Green Development and Smart Grid’ at 3rd Annual Smart Grid Smart Cities.

Municipalities with advanced Smart Grid and Green Development projects presenting at the event include: City of Amsterdam (Netherlands), Barcelona (Spain), City of Helsinki (Finland), the City of Santander (Spain), City of Genova (Italy), City of Almere (Netherlands), and the City of Malaga (Spain).

France’s largest project, NICEGRID, falling under the umbrella of the GRID4EU program, has attracted some serious players, which hope to refine their own Smart Grid and Renewable Energy offerings. On a technical level NICEGRID is very ambitious, some of its goals are to optimize use of a medium and low voltage networks with variable insertion into the renewable energy network, as well as more standard aspects such as research on the behavior of customers in independent consumption zones.

NICEGRID, managed by ERDF, is not alone. IBM Forum at La Gaude on the Côte d’Azur, has been a major center of innovation for over 50 years and is now contributing to IBM’s "Smarter Cities" global challenge, which addresses a wide range of financial and infrastructure challenges such as transportation, energy, clean water and economic development. Finally there is Sofia Antipolis, home to smart grid projects by CSTB, and Mines Paris Tech which is running a Master’s Degree Course in Smart Grids.

These centers of innovation are paying direct benefits by helping to realize Eco Vallée’s Green and Smart goals. However, they are also attracting talent and investment to further cement Nice’s long term contribution to re-imagined urban sustainability. They will do so again as Nice welcomes the Fall season, and 3rd Annual Smart Grid – Smart Cities.

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