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Support for Public Procurements to facilitate the collaboration between SMEs and public sector for the development and adoption in renewables in regions

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - XPRESS (Support for Public Procurements to facilitate the collaboration between SMEs and public sector for the development and adoption in renewables in regions)

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2021-02-28

According to a recent OECD report, from an economic perspective, the design of public procurement to promote green, sustainable or low-carbon innovation can be justified on three grounds:

a) Structural inefficiencies in government purchasing. 55% of procurement procedures still apply exclusively the lowest price as award criterion even if the new criterion for assigning tenders is the Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT) principle.

b) An environmental market failure, e.g. the absence of a price on CO2 emissions due to political constraints;

c) Insufficient support for innovation in light of positive externalities related to the demonstration and adoption of new technologies, learning, and network externalities.

Public procurement is a well-established government tool to correct market failure and to ease financial constraints caused by innovation risk and information asymmetries, but it is also subject to close public scrutiny wanting to ensure the integrity and the best value for taxpayers’ money. The crucial question is whether and how governments can use the tool of public procurements to initiate and promote effective and efficient innovations capable of accomplishing the low-carbon transition.

The XPRESS project is providing solutions to overcome barriers to a broad deployment of innovative Renewable Energy Sources (RES) technologies along two dimensions:

1. using smart Green Public Procurement (GPP) to create the new market and to strengthen the performance of RES innovators. Smart GPPs require committing to the MEAT principle for achieving environmentally-conscious choices and taking into account the positive externalities of RES promotion.
2. developing innovative financing tools and sharing best practices in order to support innovative SMEs so that they are able to cost-effectively uptake innovative RES technologies along their complete value chain.

The XPRESS project is contributing to the promotion of GPPs and to the progressive elimination of barriers to investments in renewables.

More specifically, the XPRESS consortium is pursuing the following goals in the three-year project:

1. Analyzing the financial constraints affecting RES innovations

2. Analyzing the barriers and challenges to GPP for the public sector

3. Supporting Public Authorities in minimizing any financial and regulatory constraints in their support for investments in RES;

4. Providing financial evaluation of barriers faced by SMEs who want to collaborate with the public sector on RES innovations

5. Providing informed advice on SME friendly procedures to facilitate their involvement in GPPs

6. Analyzing the environmental impact of RES innovations carried out by GPPs
The XPRESS project already met some of the expected results.
XPRESS has developed a web Portal which supports the interaction between public procurers, innovative SMEs, and end-users of green innovations.
Through the co-creation workshops in the ten countries involved, and analyzing many different databases XPRESS has mapped the low carbon energy needs of cities and municipalities and the RES technologies developed by innovative Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Events, communication activities, and the involvement of stakeholders (both public authorities and SMEs) have contributed to increase the awareness on the contribution by innovative SMEs in the field of RES technologies. The GPP tool has been the central part of the XPRESS events and of the interaction between the relevant stakeholders.

XPRESS has focused on selected municipalities within the UK, Italy, Norway, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Denmark, Slovakia, Portugal, and Belgium with the goal of extending the analysis and the involvement to wider regions within those countries.
The project will demonstrate the positive impact of innovative GPPs on cities and municipalities and SMEs in terms of energy savings, energy efficiency, and lower carbon emissions.

Meetings, case studies, surveys have provided a wide range of information on the RES public procurements and on main obstacles and barriers for GPP application during the first 18 months.
From an intensive research activity on many different databases such as Tenders Electronic Daily (TED), Amadeus and Eurobarometer (financial datasets), XPRESS has analyzed a massive amount of information and developed several tools, some of them already available on the XPRESS Portal:

1. Search for RES tenders - Where users can discover all calls for tenders related to RES. This tool will simplify the research of active tenders on RES.
2. Past RES tenders - Where users can discover the public authorities that created SME-friendly calls for tenders from 2016 to 2018 related to RES. This tool will give the opportunity to identify the tender contents and actors (both PAs and SMEs) with significant experience in the field.
3. RES Survey the online survey to map needs and ideas of local authorities willing to adopt RES technologies and SMEs producing such technologies.
4. TED Matchmaking Tool which allows discovering the contact details of public procurers and enterprises already involved in RES tenders.
5. Regular XPRESS Newsletters
The XPRESS project is contributing to the promotion of GPP and to the progressive elimination of barriers to investments in renewables.
XPRESS is analyzing the financial constraints affecting RES innovations. One of the goals is to change the perception of financial barriers that is a deterrent for unlocking the benefits of the eco-innovative capacity of EU firms for the firm itself and the society as a whole. These barriers are particularly severe for SMEs who struggle more than other companies in getting funds.
XPRESS is analyzing the barriers and challenges to innovative green tenders for the public sector.
The identification of the main barriers will help in designing friendly procedures to facilitate the involvement of SMEs and start-ups in GPPs.
XPRESS supports GPP as an efficient tool to promote RES innovations. Direct interaction between local authorities, who are interested in investing in RES innovations, and innovative SMEs who are specialized in implementing such innovations promises tailor-made procurements and solutions.
Both will strengthen the role of renewable energy technologies in the energy system transformation.

The environmental impact of RES tenders is one of the main results to be reached by the project. XPRESS proposes using an advanced Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) model to evaluate the environmental impact of those RES technologies that are triggered by the XPRES project. The model will be based on specific primary data gathering that will punctually describe the current energy system in comparison with the improvement scenarios
LCA can contribute to the analysis of the environmental performance of production and consumption patterns on various levels. To evaluate the sustainability profile of RES investments, the environmental, economic and social aspects will be analyzed from a life-cycle perspective for all the stages from design to construction, use, maintenance, and final disposal. XPRESS will use the combined method of Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment to analyze the whole sustainability level achieved by investments. LCSA is composed by: LCA-Life Cycle Assessment for the environmental impacts analysis, LCC-Life Cycle Cost for the economic evaluation, SLCA-Social Life Cycle Assessment for the social implications.
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