January 28, 2010: Vice-President and Minister of Economy of the Walloon Region Jean-Claude Marcourt, Launches the “Euro Green IT Innovation Center”, in a Public-Private Partnership with IBM, Cisco, Microsoft and Climate Savers Computing
Vice-President and Minister of Economy of the Walloon Region Jean-Claude Marcourt, Launches the “Euro Green IT Innovation Center”, in a Public-Private Partnership with IBM, Cisco, Microsoft and Climate Savers Computing
(Brussels,BELGIUM)—Today, in the presence of the Vice-President and Minister of Economy, Jean-Claude Marcourt, and the Mayor of Mons, Elio Di Rupo, the Walloon Region and IBM, Cisco, Microsoft and Climate Savers Computing Initiative launched the “EURO GREEN IT INNOVATION CENTER”. Founded on a public-private partnership, this non-profit association, which will be based in the Initialis Park in Mons and will be opening this spring, will be a centre of expertise at the junction between Information and Communication Technologies (“ICT”) and Sustainable Development. At the same time, it will be a demonstration and pilot project platform in the field of green energy efficiency. The centre will be financed to the tune of 50% by the Walloon Region, which is investing EUR 750,000 in 2010. The other half is provided by the private partner consortium in the form of personnel, consultancy, infrastructure and investment.
“Green IT” consists of two parts. On the one hand, IT industry citizens work to design products that are less polluting, less energy-consuming and easier to recycle, as well as more efficient data centres. On the other, it is a question of innovative projects that will enable, via IT contributions, the building of a more sustainable world. The not-for-profit EURO GREEN IT INNOVATION CENTRE wants to play a major role in this second part, by creating an expertise, reflection and guidance centre for the ideas, projects and young companies that rely on information technologies for the purpose of developing a more sustainable world.
In addition to its role of new green technology research accelerator, the Centre will also have a role of recommendation to the public authorities with regard to the added-value of ICT for improving the eco-energy efficiency of the green economy. The Centre is oriented towards start-ups, SMEs, businesses units and university departments that are developing innovative projects in terms of sustainable development.
According to the Vice-President and Minister of the Economy, Jean-Claude Marcourt: “The EURO GREEN IT CENTRE meets one of the key green objectives of the Marshall Plan 2.Vert, launched a few months ago on my initiative by the Walloon Government, namely: the stimulation of economic development and job creation in Wallonia, through the support for new technologies that contribute to a society that has greater respect for our resources and our environment.”
The Mayor of Mons, Elio Di Rupo, is delighted by the establishment of the Euro Green IT Centre in Mons: “The Digital Innovation Valley that has seen the arrival of Google and Microsoft, and that has been rolled out in Tournai & Charleroi, now welcomes the Euro Green IT Innovation Centre in the area, a centre of expertise for technologies that support and stimulate sustainable development. This Centre will be installed in Mons, and will have important synergies with the Microsoft Innovation Center and Virtualis, a centre for audiovisual expertise. This is a perfect fit with the double objective of the capital of Hainault: the start up of new companies and the development of multinationals in the Digital Innovation Valley on the one hand, and the candidacy of Mons as European Cultural Capital in 2015, with as theme ‘Where technology meets culture’ on the other hand. This valley in Mons, will from now on contain a center of expertise in the energy field, stimulating job creation and the start up of some ten companies a year in the area!”
According to Georges Campioli d’Agoria, this initiative represents a major opportunity for the Walloon companies that are already involved in this field: “As a federation representing the ICT companies, Agoria Wallonia intends to help the Green IT Innovation Centre to achieve its maturity. More and more of our member companies are working on solutions to the great environmental challenges that are before us, whether it be in the search for enhanced energy efficiency for our buildings, for greater mobility on our roads or for telecommuting and videoconference system modes… The best way of predicting the future is to invent it “.
The objectives of the Centre, which will be opening in the Initialis Park in Mons this spring, are clear:
- Job Creation: to participate in the creation of approximately 250 jobs (mainly indirect) over the 2010-2012 period;
- Activity Creation: to contribute to the development of five to ten new start-ups per annum;
- Improvement of the Walloon technical capability by the development of new energy efficiency software programs and control systems: five projects per annum.
In order to achieve its objectives, two concrete initiatives are being launched as of today:
Green IT Alliance: A broad alliance with the sector’s various players has been formed in order to take care of the reflection, the public awareness campaigns (general public, IT managers) and the co-ordination of the recycling programs. This alliance will be financed by member contributions, while also benefiting from public funds. This alliance could also co-ordinate an annual exhibition on the subject of the use of ITC in sustainable development.
Green IT Innovator’s Lab: In order to enable the launch of innovative pilot projects, which require greater financing, a “living laboratory” will be created which will have the task of implementing, guiding and co-ordinating those pilot projects.
On a purely illustrative basis, the Centre will work on projects such as these:
- Development of prototypes (pilot projects) for measuring the energy consumption of housing and public buildings, in order to be able to optimise the use of energy (smart meters).
- Education of the data centre operators on enhanced energy optimisation (green data centres)
- Reflections on the use of telecommuting and teleconferencing in order to reduce travel requirements.
- Installation of websites offering better information on carpooling or public transport possibilities in order to reduce the traffic on our roads. Road traffic and transport logistics optimisation.
- Searching for better solutions for recycling old machines and for giving them a second life in certain associations. Possibility of creating social economy tools tasked with the repair and reconditioning of IT tools.
- Design, development and marketing of new IT processes for the purpose of improving energy efficiency (e.g.: Smart grids, smart metering, and so on).
The private partners explain why they have decided to invest in the not-for-profit EURO GREEN IT CENTRE:
- Jacques Platieau, General Manager IBM Global Business Services, comments on this project: “The objective pursued by the Euro Green IT Centre follows a similar approach to IBM’s: to promote greener ICT and ICT at the service of sustainable development. With, in prospect, the hope of supporting players (start-ups, SMEs, universities, and so on) in their research and, if possible, of creating jobs.”
- “Our undertaking in this sustainable development initiative, in close co-operation with other IT and public sector players, offers us a unique opportunity to show, through a platform presenting our environmental solutions, Cisco’s state-of-the-art technologies. We are convinced that this initiative will contribute to increased local economic growth, enhanced operational effectiveness and a better quality of life in the Walloon Region”, said Pol Vanbiervliet, Managing Director of Cisco Belgium and Luxembourg
- Phillip Vandervoort, General Manager Microsoft Belux, said: “Microsoft is delighted to take part in Euro Green IT, which is redolent of the Microsoft Innovation Centre, inaugurated in March, in Mons. We are convinced of the growing role that will be played by the information technologies in the fight against global warming. First of all by reducing the energy necessary for software programs but especially by benefiting from the strength of the software in order to manage and reduce the energy consumption of any technological facility.”
- “Climate Savers Computing Initiative is proud to be a part of the groundbreaking public-private partnership in the Walloon Region,” said Pat Tiernan, Executive Director of Climate Savers Computing, an international non-profit association committed to reducing IT-related energy consumption. “The mission driving both Climate Savers Computing and the Euro Green IT Innovation Centre in Belgium is to increase awareness about how to reduce overall ICT power consumption. We will collaborate with political leaders, local companies, academic institutions and individuals in the region to develop innovative solutions to energy-efficient computing, from improved PC power sources and computer power management, to data centre efficiency. By working with an alliance of stakeholders in Wallonia, Climate Savers Computing hopes to have an immediate impact in the region in order measurably to reduce the energy consumption of computers.”
Pierre Leclercq, Euro Green IT Centre Project Leader, +32 (0)498 70 80 38, [email protected]
Office of Vice-President Jean-Claude Marcourt, Nathalie Lafontaine, Spokesperson, +32 (0)476 93 38 49, [email protected]
Office of the Burgomaster of Mons, Elio Di Rupo, Juliette Picry, Press Attachée, +32 (0)497 97 08 73, [email protected]
AGORIA WALLONIA, Jean-François Bodarwé, Public Relations Consultant, +32 (0)476 40 32 77, [email protected]
CISCO, Quadrant Communications, Rafaël Tirmarche, +32 (0)476 68 94 92, [email protected]
IBM, Yes Van Seters, Media Relations IBM Belgium & Luxembourg, +32 (0)478 27 10 33, [email protected]
MICROSOFT, Aurélie Couvreur, Public Relations and Corporate Affairs Manager, Microsoft Belgium & Luxemburg, +32 (0)497 47 47 69, [email protected]
Climate Savers Computing Initiative, Jessica Repa, Conservation Director, 503-327-8031, [email protected]
Climate Savers® is a trademark or registered trademark of World Wildlife Fund Inc., an international conservation organization. Used under license.
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