Municipality of Focsani (FOCS), Romania
Focșani is a medium sized city - the capital of Vrancea County. Focsani city is situated at the border between Moldova and Muntenia historical regions of Romania. Citizens from Focșani like to say that “we are welcoming our guests in the legendary Land of Vrancea and the Union City”. Focșani key figures are: about 48 sq.km total administrative surface; 79,315 inhabitants (2011); temperate continental climate with an average temperature of around 9°C.
Focșani city needs to react both to its local internal cross-sectorial challenges and to the external pressure related to the economic disparities between western and eastern European countries, recently more influenced by the geopolitical context with our neighbour Moldova and Ukraine.
Municipality of Focșani is a signatory member of: The Covenant of Mayors, with their SEAP – Sustainable Energy Action Plan under approval by the Local Council; OER – Romania Energy Cities and AMR - Romanian Municipalities Association. The municipality has also approved its’ Sustainable Development Strategy for 2014 – 2020 http://www.focsani.info/stiri/trategia-de-dezvoltare-durabila-a-municipiului-focsani-2014-2020-in-dezbatere-publica and is under approval of the SUMP http://www.focsani.info/stiri/consultare-publica-pmud-29-iulie-2016&page=1
The Municipality gained experience in running several investment project financed by Pre-accession and Structural Funds, being prepared to submit new project proposals for the next period.
Focșani is committed to become a smart and sustainable urban centre, starting from efficiently tackling all local issues (economic, social, administrative, environmental etc.) through an integrated innovative approach. Together with its citizens, the key stakeholders and urban utilities’ providers, the municipality is focused on:
- increasing buildings’ energy efficiency and the living standards,
- mitigating CO2 footprint by reducing primary energy resources consumption and implementing adequate RES, in areas of interest with no DHS
- developing an eco-smart public transport, efficiently managed and monitored
- implementing an ICT decision-based management tool in order to develop a transparent and efficient public administration process
- securing its citizens’ safety and enhancing their level of knowledge, awareness and engagement
- maintaining a low unemployment rate by increasing the economic potential of the city (SME development; attracting foreign investment; tourism).
Focșani Municipality’s efforts and willingness to develop and implement a sustainable and smart city concept defines it as one of the committed follower city, capable of replicating lighthouse cities’ actions and measures.
Focșani Municipality good practices in the smart and sustainable urban development field is related to “low carbon districts” mainly an upgraded centralised heating system including a high efficient cogeneration plant and a district heating network, supplying about 40% of Focsani city, the rest of the population having implemented individual sources. The owner of the heating supply network is ENET - a public company subordinated to Focșani Municipality. The high efficient centralised heating system in Focșani includes:
- a cogeneration source for heat and power, operating on natural gas, which comprises two high-efficiency cogeneration plants - internal combustion engines (2 x 6,8MWe); two hot water boilers (2 x 50 Gcal/h); a hot water boiler (1 x 25Gcal/h), but other CHP plant;
- a transport network with a length of 23.21 km for the thermal energy (heat and hot water);
- 57 thermal substations connected to the transport network and supplying with heat and hot water homeowners' association (single-family homes, condominiums), private companies, public institutions and social-cultural entities;
- a distribution network in length of 59.08 km, also for the thermal energy supply;
- heat meters installed for condominiums (apartment buildings), inside the staircases of the block of flats, on the heating and hot water distribution networks.
All this technological improvements were possible through a major retrofitting and upgrading project managed by Focșani Municipality during 2011-2015, aiming the compliance with environmental standards on air pollution and energy efficiency for heat supplying systems.
Additionally six public buildings (4 schools and 2 colleges) were refurbished and upgraded in order to increase the energy efficiency.
Under ECOS-Ouverture Programme and PHARE, Municipality of Focsani managed to develop also a study regarding the wind energy potential in the region.
Related to “smart grids”, the complete rehabilitation of the drinking water network has also included a network of meters and sensors with a central dispatch located at the Water Plant. This type of monitoring systems was also extended to the sewerage network and the Waste Water Treatment Plant, operated by the same utility provider, subordinated to the Local Council.
The municipality has “ICT system”, based on a GeoMedia platform, for an Integrated Accounting and Financial Management - for all local subordinated public institutions and services (buildings; services such as social, population register, street sanitation, green public spaces, street lighting, parking, markings/road signs, local police, culture, etc.). This ICT system is gathering data from purchased or internally developed applications in Visual Basic, Access, Php, Macromedia or from files built with AutoCad, Microsoft Office, CorelDraw, Adobe. All Software are licensed and enables specialists to develop new projects in various fields.
Main IT software used, at this moment, are based on this GeoMedia platform, with access rights for the subordinated companies/utilities providers already connected to this communication network: tax collectors, agricultural evidence, urban planning, human resources and Public Domain Inventory. The main challenge and step forward will be to interconnect data from all software used by the city and the other public services and utilities providers not yet integrated – heating, water, sewerage, natural gas, communication, electricity etc.
Additionally the municipality implemented a surveillance and crime prevention system in the following districts: Sud, Laminorul and Mandresti; upgraded and extended the green areas, rehabilitation of streets network, sidewalk, access alleys, parking areas, bus stations, construction of new parking areas and bikes tracks in the South-East part of the city; developed a new social building for elderly peoples and a National Touristic Information and Promotion Centre.