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The exponential growth of the population and of resources used, the technological evolution of infrastructure and services, and the importance of environmental issues in the urban environment are signs of this epochal turning point. This profound change has origins far back and has become faster and more radical in the last decade, giving cities a new, key role: urban centers can be a starting point for the transition to a new paradigm of sustainable development for the entire planet. The current Covid-19 Health Emergency underlined also the need to address a digital & sustainable transformation of public services and infrastructures in order to increase city resiliency with a citizen-centric approach.

To address these challenges and promising business prospects under the agreement with the Enel Group, ESA in cooperation with ENEL X plans to issue an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) for feasibility studies to promote the development of space-applications supporting sustainable innovation for circular economy. The AO will primarily address infrastructure efficiency and optimisation of mobility towards environmental sustainability in cities.

The high-level objectives of the AO are to assess the technical and business feasibility of using space assets to advance business innovation in circular cities, addressing one of the following two domains:

  • Domain 1: Public transport transition towards zero carbon emissions & service optimization”
  • Domain 2: Dynamic mapping system of infrastructures to address predictive maintenance”

and propose a roadmap for potential pilots that would start in 2021.

This Challenge provides contribution to the following SDGs:

  • SDG 9: INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE - Invest in infrastructures that promote sustainability.
  • SDG 11: SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.



The circular economy is a strategic driver for Enel: it’s one of the pillars of ENEL approach and systematically extends to all areas of ENEL business. Enel X takes inspiration from the principles of the Circular Economy because they represent a new paradigm, in which the use of prime virgin materials is reduced to a minimum, the use of renewable and secondary prime materials prevails and the solutions offered are used for as long as possible and to their greatest capacity. This is due to a rethinking of consumption models. For Enel X, the present transition from a model of linear to circular economy represents an opportunity for sustainable innovation. This produces tangible benefits for the environment with an impact that is enhanced by digitalization and the implementation of new technologies (www.enelx.com/en/who-we-are/circular-economy).



Tenderers are invited to propose a feasibility study addressing one of the following domains which have been identified by ESA in cooperation with ENEL.

  • Domain 1: Public transport transition towards zero carbon emissions & service optimization. Public Administration requires support in monitoring, analyzing and planning mobility services in order to define data-driven public transport policies aligned with sustainability, reliability and efficiency XXI century goals. On the other side Citizens need a flexible, pervasive and zero carbon emission public transport ecosystem to reduce their travel-time and increase their quality of life. Remote sensing data analysis can unlock several optimization scenarios, taking into account both roads and traffic physical infrastructure status as well as passengers demand. The challenge must be addressed without the need of installing ad hoc hardware components.
    • Challenge and opportunities:
      • Citizens need a multi-modal system of transport services and infrastructures that offer reliable, efficient, innovative and safe way for moving into the city according to the XXI century and the sustainability required by public administrations.
      • Need for cost-effective solutions building upon knowledge of traveller behaviour to perform a quick scan of a city and understand how people move, which transport they use, how far they come to visit the city, etc.
      • Design future-proof solutions. With the upcoming automatisation, use of alternative fuels, alternative transport (scooters, electric vehicles, etc.) and new infrastructure, organisational aspects will be needed.
      • Improve public transport services by space-applications, digitalization and/or data analysis so that satisfy new needs of the citizens and make a city more sustainable.
  • Domain 2: Dynamic mapping system of infrastructures to address predictive maintenance. Public Administrations and Citizens need a flexible and interoperable system of infrastructures (light points, parking, PV, charging stations, building ...) that offer reliable and innovative services according to the XXI century best practices - more environmentally friendly and with a high resiliency, an effective and seamless maintenance. The potential of remote sensing data analysis is huge by considering infrastructures planning and maintenances needs according to territory morphology and citizens demand.
    • Challenge and opportunities:
      • Urban infrastructure has become one of the most pressing challenges facing the world today. Already, the world’s cities are home to more than half of the global population; emit more than 70 percent of the world’s greenhouse gasses; use 80 percent of the world’s energy; and drive the vast majority of the world’s economic output.
      • Cities are striving to provide a raft of critical infrastructure to support their burgeoning – in some cases unrelenting – growth; more effective public lighting systems, reliable and low-carbon mobility, safe and secure buildings, and efficient and scalable social infrastructure will all play central roles in the smooth transition to urbanization.
      • A smart city would need to provide wider infrastructure for public health, education, public lighting and other public utilities, including a 24×7 availability of electricity. For a holistic approach to infrastructure development and maintenance, the city planners need to be equipped with state-of-the-art and innovative technology.
      • Citizens need a system of infrastructures (light points, parking, PV, charging stations, building ...) that offer reliable, innovative and new services according to the XXI century but with a cheaper maintenance and more environmentally friendly.
      • Improve these infrastructure services by space-applications, digitalization and/or data analysis so that satisfy new needs of the citizens and make a city more sustainable.



  1. Any best practices have to be verified and documented (not just an “idea”).
  2. Solutions should provide technology to reduce the cost services. Solutions should have a global context (that is, they would be transferable to different parts of the world).
  3. All solutions must be safe and comply with any local regulations and be sustainable environmentally and economically.
  4. Solutions should support Enel’s commitment on SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) with specific emphasis on SDG9 and SDG11.
  5. The proposed technology should offer Enel “freedom to practice” or be available for potential licensing. There should be no third party patent art preventing the use of specific equipment and materials for their commercial application.
  6. In addition, the following qualities are highly desired but not required:
    1. Easy installation;
    2. Reasonable investment costs;
    3. Existing commercial solution (or minimally at a pilot/demonstration stage).

The applications and/or services covered by the proposed feasibility study shall:

  • deliver measurable socio/environment/economic impact;
  • be scalable from cities to regional geographies while limiting and ideally not requiring the installation of ad hoc hardware components / sensors;
  • bring technical and business innovation;
  • bring operational benefits to users and potential customers ( reduction of intervention time, etc.) proving economic viability;
  • have a technology readiness level so that they can operationalized in 6- 12 months;
  • be compliant with relevant regulations and respect privacy of individuals,



The submitted proposal should include the following:

  1. Detailed technical description of an approach that can meet the above Solution Requirements;
  2. Rationale for the proposed technology/best practice;
  3. If a best practice, provide documentation of its proven record and savings;
  4. If available, drawings for any devices, schematics for installation and rough estimations of costs (e.g. investment, operational, maintenance) and power consumption;
  5. Provide information on any known limitations;
  6. Model Business Canvas according to the format attached.

Challenge rules

All proposers are invited to read carefully the instruction available at ESA dedicated web page and download the official tender documentation from ESA EMITS.



For this call, companies or organisations residing in the following Member States will be eligible to apply: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

The applicable funding level of the individual prime - is subject to authorisation by the involved National Delegation. Therefore, bidding teams are requested to obtain a Letter of Authorisation from all the respective national delegations before submitting the Proposal.


ESA Tender Information

Responding to an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) requires the submission of a Proposal. The Proposal will be evaluated according to ESA regulations and procedures. The consequential evaluation of proposals results in a recommendation for a winning bid.

The proposals will be admitted until February 26, 2021 at 12:00 (local time in Amsterdam) and the evaluation will start after this date.



ESA will bear up to 50% of the acceptable cost of the feasibility study, up to a max estimated cost of €120,000. To the extent that activities are performed by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, said activities are funded up to 80 % by ESA, depending on the funding level authorised by the related ESA National Delegation(s).

Furthermore, the selected Tenderer(s) will also have the possibility to collaborate with Enel X with a dedicated contract and get additional support. Such Enel X additional support may include a financial contribution to the co-funded part of the Tenderer’s overall cost, and/or strategic/technical support to deliver the prototype.

Nevertheless, it is anticipated that Enel X’s support and participation in the present activity will be subject to receiving, at least, a non-exclusive license on the intellectual property rights resulting from the contract.

The remainder has to be financed by the Tenderer through private sector direct and/or indirect co-funding and/or by the users based on terms and conditions to be agreed upon.

What happens next?

How to Apply

The Prime and all subcontractors must register as potential bidders via esa-star, prior to downloading the official tender documents from EMITS http://emits.sso.esa.int/emits/owa/emits.main and submitting their Proposal. The registration process needs to be started as soon as possible, as it will take time to complete. Submit your proposal before the deadline February 26 2021 at 12:00 (local time in Amsterdam).


ESA will evaluate the proposals received.



The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. ESA is an international organisation with 22 Member States. By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, it can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.


ESA Space Solutions aims at reaching commercial exploitation of space assets, data and capabilities addressing incubation, proving technical feasibility and business development. This includes the development of operational services for a wide range of users through the combination of different systems, and support in creating viable companies as well as to existing companies. https://business.esa.int/


Enel (www.enel.com) is a multinational power company and a leading integrated player in the global power, gas and renewables markets.


Enel X (www.enelx.com) is a company of Enel Group with strong roots in the energy sector and with an open strategy that is geared towards digitalization, sustainability and innovation. How we use energy today opens up opportunities for people, businesses and cities. Enel X wants to support them through innovative solutions designed to respond to ever-changing needs, creating opportunities for growth and progress.