Asprela wants to be a multiplier of the square kilometre of knowledge and sustainability

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Contrary to the tendency to think about projects according to support, the Municipality of Porto found in the EEA Grants a resource that would allow it to scale the strategy long thought out for the Amial area: from a project to create the first renewable energy community in the municipal neighbourhood, the “Asprela+Sustentável” was reached and knowledge, projects and commitment to sustainable solutions multiplied. At Porto Ambiente, the Secretary of State for Planning was aware of the path already taken and the will of the City Council and partners to replicate this square kilometre of sustainability in other areas of the city.

With the highest ranking in the EEA Grants application, ‘Asprela+Sustentável’ is important for the response it is creating in an area where many people live, study, and move. "It is an area that we wanted to be, in addition to the square kilometre of knowledge, the square kilometre of sustainability", says the vice-president of Porto.

The starting point was Amial, the neighbourhood and the school, where the installation of photovoltaic panels will allow the production of clean energy for the consumption of buildings, as well as for chargers of electric vehicles for public use.

For residents of Bairro do Amial to start enjoying energy from this technology, only details related to the equipment are missing. For a period, the energy will be free and the City will study the model of making it, then reaching the population at affordable prices.

In the words of Filipe Araújo, it is important for the Municipality that “what we are doing in ‘Asprela+Sustentável’ allows us to conclude that we can improve these projects, but, above all, that we can replicate them in the city”.

The intention, the vice-president assumes, is “to support a municipal strategy for these areas of the circular economy, to increasingly produce our energy, and that this energy provides other conditions for the people who are our tenants in the municipal neighbourhoods”.

It was in these places that an energy efficiency management system was installed to combat energy poverty in social housing (along with solar photovoltaic plants in municipal buildings).

Supply and repair of equipment in the mission of neutrality

It was – also – for this that the Porto Climate Pact was signed, so that the community itself could get involved. "What we want with these small projects, when they gain scale, is for people to be net contributors to what is the decarbonization of the city and neutrality", admits the person responsible for the Environment and Climate Transition.

Alongside this renewable energy community, other projects were born: Good Food Hubs, with markets selling organic products by local producers near the Asprela University campus, and ReBoot, which allows the repair of computer equipment, promoting the circular economy.

But there are more aspects: the monitoring and control of the flow and quality of the streams of Parque Central da Asprela, which, explains the vice-president, "using Artificial Intelligence, allows us to better understand when there is pollution and be much more agile in action"; but also, the installation of drinking fountains in the circuits of physical and recreational activity.

Foster relationships to expand strategy

For the Secretary of State for Planning, “projects benefit from interaction” with each other. "More than funding, the relationships that are created between institutions and the partnerships that arise from them matter", says Eduardo Pinheiro.

The municipal companies Águas e Energia do Porto and Porto Ambiente, the Porto Energy Agency, Porto Digital, Coopérnico - Cooperativa de Desenvolvimento Sustentável, the Porto Academic Federation, INEGI, INESC TEC, and the companies Efacec, IDN, Cleanwatts and EVIO are partners of the Municipality of Porto in the 'Asprela+ Sustentável'.

Recognizing "the enthusiasm of all, in the various areas", the official reinforces how the "important projects" carried out by the Municipality of Porto "are part of the priorities of the EEA Grants": the environment, climate change and the low carbon economy.

Looking at Porto's work as “a good example”, Eduardo Pinheiro argues that “it makes no sense to define the strategy according to the resources that are available. Yes, it is worth having the strategy and then taking advantage of the available resources”, “creating conditions and, if it works, extending it to other projects”.

Once the seeds are launched in this square kilometre, in this living laboratory for decarbonization, ‘Asprela+Sustentável’ will be the sketch “for the city of the future project that we want to complete by 2030”, admits Filipe Araújo.