Let's discover everything about the path of the Municipality of Parma towards becoming a greener and smarter city. 

What does “energy transition” mean for your city? What is the current status and what are the future goals?

In Parma, the city council benefitted from several EU-funded projects to create an integrated and holistic city road map towards sustainable development. The energy transition is a crucial part of it.

On the one hand, the municipality is working on community engagement to maximize the national subsidies to improve the energy efficiency of the residential sector. Furthermore, the city of Parma recently launched its brand new SECAP. This integrated document provides an inter-sectorial strategy unifying mitigation and adaptation measures.

In this regard, central is the theme of Positive Energy Districts (PED) in Parma’s ambitions. The development of a PED vision implies a redesign of city districts by prioritizing the following pillars: energy efficiency, RES, Nature-Based Solutions, and smart control systems.

Ultimately, In December 2020, Parma became part of the Carbon Neutrality Territorial Alliance: with this pact, more than ten representatives from local authorities, private players, and corporate unions committed themselves to achieve carbon neutrality within the province of Parma by 2030.

What are your objectives within POTEnT? Have you already identified the projects you would like to study and transfer to your territory?

In the framework of the project POTEnT, the municipality of Parma has two main strategies: creating a business model for the One-Stop-Shop and supporting the transition towards Positive Energy Districts.

These two missions are then unraveled in a set of sub-objectives. However, a holistic and inclusive approach is necessary to maximize the possible results of these two strategies. In this setting, the harmonization of the local strategic governance tools and the new SECAP is crucial.

POTEnT is like a table laden with delicious and abundant food. Every host decides which food is the most appealing and takes it. In the same way, project partners select the good practices that most suit their needs and decide to import them. For example, Parma received many good inputs from the latest study visit on the One-Stop Shop.

Among the key takeaways from the visit, there is the replication of a financial mechanism inspired by the French Energy Saving Contract or the Renovation Pass. In addition, the community engagement strategy made by the municipality of Pamplona for what concerns the renovation of the Txantrea district is an exemplar way to engage citizens in urban regeneration projects.

The next phase of the international learning for Parma will be focusing on energy communities and the co-creation process by attending two study visits: Pamplona’s pilot project on self-consumption from RES on May 27th, and the energy network “Bien Là” on June 21st. Due to the number of interesting actions in the Good Practice Register, many interesting options are still to be explored.

Your city is involved in several European projects, including the smart city project RUGGEDISED: is there any connection with POTEnT and how do they contribute to your ambitions when it comes to the energy transition?

Through the project RUGGEDISED, the city of Parma created a Smart City roadmap for integrating different sets of activities central in terms of sustainable development.

‘’Parma Futuro Smart” is the name of this roadmap including several projects on rational energy usage, data management platforms, sustainable mobility, and smart lighting. POTEnT specifically addresses the topic of energy efficiency, and it is strongly connected to the vision that has been created through RUGGEDISED.

They both tackle the topic of the Positive Energy Districts, but with different outlooks. In POTEnT, the point of view is fully on energy transition. Based on this, Parma is analyzing the areas in the city suitable for PED development, and creating tailor-made stakeholders’ networks. Finally, through the international exchange of good practices, Parma is selecting the best actions replicable in its social and territorial ecosystem.

Conversely, RUGGEDISED has a broader scope focusing on the development of a smart city. This means that many sectors are interconnected and innovated through ICT solutions, such as the development of a smart city control platform, which is part of the Parma Futuro Smart action plan.

Thus, PED development is a goal that must be tackled simultaneously from different angles to complete the final puzzle. Rational energy usage, RES, Smart Control Systems, sustainable mobility, and energy communities are all elements that the two projects aim to synergize to create an integrated, smart, and energy-efficient city.