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GDF SUEZ Innovation Mornings at the Village: a kick-off meeting on smart cities

Sustainable mobility

Innovation Mornings, a first encounter in a series of monthly meetings dedicated to innovation and entrepreneurship in the energy sector, inaugurated by GDF SUEZ on October 29. These meetings are held at the Village, an incubator for start-ups opened in October 2014 and located at 55, rue la Boétie in Paris, France. Participation is free of charge upon simple registration on the platform.

During the opening session led by Erik Orsenna, the writer presented the issues at stake for smart cities and then gave the floor to Nicholas You, Chairman of GDF SUEZ’ Urban Strategy and Innovation Council (Conseil de Stratégie et d’Innovation Urbaine - CSIU). He also introduced Powerdale, the first company to benefit from a Group’s equity stake acquisition through the GDF SUEZ New Ventures Investment Fund. The Belgian company designs charging terminals for smart electric vehicles and already operates about 450 Powerdale “CarPlug” terminals in corporate car parks and shopping malls, in Belgium mainly. “Energy monitoring is a major challenge and we provide innovative solutions in this fast-changing sector”, explained Hughes Dhaeyer, founder and CEO of Powerdale.

Far from confining start-ups in a centralized system, the GDF SUEZ New Ventures Investment Fund aims at: “accompanying start-ups through trade partnerships and supplying them with R&D support whenever necessary”, commented Jean-Louis Blanc, Commercial Director for the GDF SUEZ Innovation and New Businesses division.

The priority sectors identified are: energy management and curtailment; cities, territories and mobility; home comfort; decentralized energy production and storage. “We need to think energy transition in alignment with the current digital switch-over driven by the worldwide urbanization phenomenon”, reminded Jean-Louis Blanc.

Cities are not sums of solutions. You need an incubator as well as an integrator. Such was the outcome of the discussion focused on governance issues with the 4 elected municipal officials invited: Xavier Lemoine, Mayor of Montfermeil, Anne Grommerch, Deputy-Mayor of Thionville, Etienne Blanc, Deputy-Mayor of Divonne les Bains and Jean-Marc Vasse, Mayor of Danville. “These Innovation Mornings are an excellent initiative, a great way to feel the pulse of the different actors and confront ideas”, said the entrepreneur of a digital company specialized in sustainable development. “I am particularly interested in the subject of energy efficiency and remain attentive to the solutions and problems encountered”, added a start-up creator, member of the Agora’Nov incubator.

Source: Hugo Whitemore

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