Smart cities in Spain

The latest installment of the blog series based on our smart cities in Europe, enabling innovation report takes a look at the findings on smart cities in Spain. Spain is home to many smart cities.

According to research undertaken by the European Parliament, more than 30 Spanish cities with a population in excess of 100,000 have at least one smart city initiative, making it one of the top three countries in Europe measured by the number of smart city initiatives, alongside Italy and the UK. However, Spain performs less well when measuring the number of smart city initiatives as a percentage of its total number of cities – 51-75% of Spanish cities with a population over 100,000 have at least one smart city initiative, lower than the percentage of Swedish, Danish, Italian and Austrian cities with at least one smart city initiative.*

The survey data suggests a lack of Government incentives is responsible for Spain lagging behind other European countries – Spain contains the largest proportion of survey respondents (79%) that believe there are insufficient regulation and Government incentives to encourage investment in smart grid technologies. Furthermore, Spain contains the lowest percentage of survey respondents (28%) that believe the roll-out of intelligent transport systems is a priority for transport authorities.

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Despite the lack of Government incentives, many Spanish municipalities are collaborating to promote and share best practice on the development of smart city initiatives. For example, a number of municipalities established the Spanish Network for Smart Cities (RECI) in 2012. The organisation, which now counts 54 municipalities among its members, not only shares experiences of implementing smart initiatives but also lobbies Government on behalf of municipalities wanting to create smart cities.

One area the Spanish Government has prioritised is the use of electric vehicles. The Government’s Plan PIVE provides a discount to customers wishing to replace cars with electric vehicles. The latest version of the initiative, Plan PIVE 6, which was approved in June 2014, provides a €2,000 grant when scrapping a 10-year-old car and replacing it with an electric, hybrid, or less contaminant car. The Government has set aside a budget of €175 million for this initiative.

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Promoting the use of electric vehicles is a high priority for the Spanish Government and there are some interesting initiatives, such as PIVE or MOVELE, to subsidise the purchase of electric cars, combined
with municipal strategies in order to create adequate infrastructures for recharging points. But these projects have not been that successful thus far. It will take time for consumers to get used to these
vehicles. The Government is doing its best, but the subsidy for electric vehicles is probably not enough at the moment.

Luis Castro, Partner at Osborne Clarke

More smart cities information

Download the full smart cities in Europe report here.

*European Parliament Policy Department (January 2014), “Mapping Smart Cities in the EU”

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