Earlier this month, Monaco has decided to follow in the footsteps of the Estonian capital Tallinn, Luxembourg and the French city of Dunkirk, among others, to roll out free bus rides to encourage the population to use public transport. While the initial trial will be limited to one bus line, which will be free for six months from next spring, many local elected representatives pleaded for total gratuity for the scheme to have a mobilising effect. However, Monaco and its citizens have shown more ambition in other ways of using transport to protect the environment. Whether it is on land, in air or on water, the Monegasques never hesitated to opt for eco-friendly transport.
Pioneer in electro-mobility
Since 2005, the biggest players dedicated to renewable energies and sustainable mobility have been meeting at the Grimaldi Forum for Ever Monaco, the essential professional forum for the future of transport and the energy transition. The fervour around this year’s event was more important than ever. Some 20 green vehicles from different manufacturers could be tested throughout the event. However, the spotlight was directed to the third edition of the Monaco e-Prix on the Principality’s F1 racecourse with the best drivers of 100% electric cars attending.
Carbon neutral heliport
Monaco also boasts the first carbon neutral heliport in the world. In 2018, the Monaco Heliport became the first in the world to achieve carbon neutral status. The heliport was constructed in the district of Fontvieille on land reclaimed from the sea in 1976. It is the only means of landing an aircraft within Monaco and only has one scheduled destination at the Côte d’Azur Airport in nearby Nice. Fontvieille is home to a number of new building initiatives and recently became a testing ground for a new kind of renewable energy – solar slabs – which are laid directly onto asphalt and are said to be capable of generating a similar amount of energy to traditional photovoltaics.
At once a nautical race and a pro-environmental preservation initiative, for six years, the sporting event Solar & Energy Boat Challenge organised by the Yacht Club of Monaco proves that is possible to pair the two. This year’s race saw some odd-looking boats lined with solar panels. One of the three categories of the event – Energy Class – was organised for the first time last year. The competing teams had build a propulsion system using renewable energy from the hull of catamaran. The motto: reduce carbon emissions as much as possible. What’s more, this year’s Monaco Yacht Show welcomed Acqua – the first superyacht running on hydrogen. A 112-meter superyacht reconciled progress with bettering the environment, luxury and clean energy.
Green port strategy
Last year, Monaco made history with the Port of Monaco becoming the first port on the French Riviera to earn a double ISO certification for its respect for “quality” and the “environment.” The Monégasque green port strategy thus proved to be ambitious and fruitful. The SEPM’s – Société d’Exploitation des Ports de Monaco – vision of sustainability in conjunction with the region’s dynamic business environment has made the Port of Monaco a beacon on a hill for other similar transport hubs. From its inception, the SEPM has headed up several environmental initiatives with the goal of reducing pollution, no matter its source.