#EURegionsWeek

Implementing Smart Specialisation in Energy through Innovation Procurement

Wed 9, October 2019
14:30 - 16:00

The Smart Specialisation Platform on Energy (S3PEnergy) is a joint initiative of DG REGIO, DG ENER and Joint Research Centre. It has the objective of supporting the effective uptake of the Cohesion Policy funds for energy as well as to help regions in the implementation of their Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3).

Public procurement is an important lever for economic growth and competitiveness, especially in a sector such as energy, where the public sector is a key source of demand.

Innovation procurement is an administrative action aimed at promoting innovation by enhancing the development of new innovative markets from the demand side, through public procurement. It contributes to:

- modernising the public sector through the incorporation of innovative goods or services

- promoting business-based innovation

- boosting the internationalisation of innovation using the local public market as a launch or reference customer.

By developing a forward-looking innovation procurement strategy, public procurers can drive the R&D and deployment of innovative energy solutions from the demand side. Nevertheless, innovation procurement seems to remain underused in Europe compared to other parts of the world.

The main aim of the workshop is to help public authorities, procurers, policymakers, researchers and other stakeholders harness the power of innovation procurement to facilitate more quickly a clean energy transition, in line with the Energy Union strategy, and at the same time create opportunities for their local companies.

A pro-innovation procurement approach - using both public procurement of innovative solutions (PPI) and pre-commercial procurement (PCP) tools - could be more widely developed in the field of energy in order to influence the market towards innovative and more sustainable energy-related products and services.

Representatives from different regions and organisations will present interesting examples of innovation procurement initiatives carried out in Europe with ESIF, in the context of smart specialisation. Presentations will be followed by a Q&A/open discussion where the results and effectiveness, lessons learned, etc. of these experiences will be analysed with the audience.

Our target audience is mainly public procurers in the energy sector (national, regional and local authorities, agencies, public utility entities, etc.), with a focus on ESIF funds managers (S3 practitioners in regions and Member States that have prioritised energy in their S3 and could use their ESIF to steer innovation in energy), but the workshop will be open to any other interested persons (policymakers, researchers, etc.).

AGENDA:

- Introduction to the Thematic Smart Specialisation Platform on Energy, by Isabelle Seigneur, S3PEnergy, JRC, EC.

- Boosting innovation in energy through PPI – Experiences of PPI2Innovate project, by Ákos Szépvölgyi, Managing Director, Central Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency of Hungary.

- How the Programme for Innovation Procurement contributes to an acceleration of the energy transition in Flanders, by An Schrijvers & Piet Desiere, Senior Advisors in Innovation Procurement, Department of Economy, Science & Innovation, Government of Flanders.

- Tools and guidance on innovation procurement, by Rafael Hirt, Officer Sustainable Economy and Procurement, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability.

- Prominent MED project: experiences in the use of PPI in small Mediterranean municipalities, by Ivan Šimić, Managing Director, Regional Energy Agency North Croatia.

- Q&A and Open discussion, moderated by Fernando Mérida, JRC, EC.

Fernando Mérida Martín, Smart Specialisation Platform on Energy (S3PEnergy) team, Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Spain.
Piet Desiere, Senior Advisor Innovation Procurement, Government of Flanders; Department of Economy, Science & Innovation, Belgium.
Rafael Hirt, Officer, Sustainable Economy and Procurement, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, Germany.
An Schrijvers, Senior Advisor Innovation Procurement, Government of Flanders; Department of Economy, Science & Innovation, Belgium.
Isabelle Seigneur, Policy Officer, Smart Specialisation Platform on Energy (S3PEnergy), Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Spain.
Ákos Szépvölgyi, Managing Director, Central Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency, Hungary.
Ivan Šimić, Managing Director, Regional Energy Agency North Croatia, Croatia.
09WS585
Workshop
A smarter Europe
European Commission - DG JRC
english (en)
SQUARE - Brussels Convention Centre - 313+315.
Address: Mont des Arts, 1000 Brussels

Session summary

How to turn innovative public procurement from an underused option to a powerful boost for innovation in energy?

This question was discussed in a workshop organised as part of the European Week of Regions and Cities 2019, by the Smart Specialisation Platform on Energy (S3PEnergy), a joint initiative of DG REGIO, DG ENER and JRC.

By developing a forward-looking innovation procurement strategy, public procurers can drive the R&D and deployment of innovative energy solutions from the demand side. In line with the Energy Union strategy, innovation procurement can be used as tool to facilitate a quick, clean energy transition, and at the same time create opportunities for local companies.

The main aim of the workshop was to help public authorities, procurers, policymakers, researchers and other stakeholders harness the power of innovation procurement to support the implementation of their Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3) in Energy.

Representatives from different regions and organisations presented interesting examples of innovation procurement initiatives carried out across Europe with ESIF, in the context of smart specialisation. They explained in details the activities carried out, the methodology followed, the obstacles encountered, the lessons learnt, and the support or tools they make available for others.

Some 40 participants from various organisations attended the workshop: mainly EU, national, regional or local public administrations (fund managers, public buyers, S3 practitioners, etc.), but also researchers, members of civil associations and enterprise organisations.

The main lessons learnt, for both public procurers and policy makers, mentioned by the different speakers about the use of innovation procurement can be summarised as follows:

- Innovation procurement has proven to be an excellent way to accelerate local economy and support better public services.

- “Think Big - Start Small” approach: As in the context of S3, Innovation procurement requires long-term planning and an ecosystem development along the quadruple helix. This should be included in a long term energy strategy and innovation agenda.

- Continuous cooperation, pooling of resources and mutual trust are needed along the procurement cycle. Energy is a particularly complex topic, involving many stakeholders (including many different administrations) and requires special effort.

- Non-standard procurement takes more time and internal decisions' procedures within public governments are long. The mind set within the administration should be changed and procurement should be seen as a strategic tool and not as a burden.

- Innovation procurement comes with some risk for public buyers. There is a clear need of a firm financial commitment and incentives rewarding those willing to take risks.

- From the idea to the innovative solution: a good approach for project definition and selection is key. The needs' identification is one of the most crucial part.

- The market should be engaged before the tender. A good knowledge of the available R&I solutions is required.

- In energy, it is not as much about technological innovation but about business/finance & ROI/process innovation.

- New administrative capacities and skills are needed. To ensure success along the procurement cycle, technical assistance and supporting networks can be used (e.g. ICLEI's Procura+ Network, PPI2Innovate Competence Centres, MED PPI Network, etc.).

Take away message

Public Innovative Procurement (PPI) is a promising tool to enhance public administration performance, support innovative companies and find solutions for societal needs.

A pro-innovation procurement approach could support the implementation of S3. Especially in a sector such as energy, where the public sector is a key source of demand, PPI could influence the market towards innovative and sustainable energy-related products/services.

PPI remains challenging but the speakers showcased several successful experiences and informed about many supporting tools, networks and guidance documents.



Piet Desiere (Government of Flanders): "PPI is a promising instrument to come to solve societal needs, but further European support is required"

Rafael Hirt (ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability): "The Procura+ Network, the Innovation Procurement Platform and the Procurement Forum offer useful support to public buyers to exchange and learn from best practice examples on innovation procurement in Europe."

Ivan Šimić (Managing Director of Regional Energy Agency North): "Innovation procurement is a great tool for public authorities, getting innovative solutions that meet their needs, and also to support entrepreneurs. It comes with some risks; policy makers need to develop instruments that would ensure a serious uptake of innovation procurement.“

An Schrijvers (Government of Flanders):“It takes much energy to carry out successful projects on sustainable energy. A firm commitment of all partners (public, private, civil, academic and financial) is needed. Advice and support on innovation procurement can definitely contribute, but co-financing seems crucial to compensate for the risks taken."

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