TopicElectric vehicles’ enhanced performance and integration into the transport system and the grid
Specific challenge: The limited driving range of electric vehicles is one of the biggest deployment challenges for electromobility. A ground-up re-design is needed to fully take advantage of the design freedoms and the opportunities in defining and developing the electric and electronic architecture and components. This should result in increased efficiency and range and make a major contribution towards the transition to fully electric vehicles (FEV's).
A particularly important element that needs to be addressed is the battery management system (BMS), which is fundamental for many aspects of electrified vehicle performance, from energy efficiency (and therefore range) to safety, battery life and reliability.

Energy Efficiency CALL - Technology for district heating and cooling

District heating and cooling systems need to be more efficient, intelligent and cheaper. It is necessary to develop and deploy intelligent systems using smart metering and control solutions for optimisation and consumer empowerment and exploiting multiple energy resources, including waste heat recovery, heat pumps, thermal storage, cogeneration and renewable energy integration, and to roll-out solutions for the integration of intelligent thermal network with smart electricity grids.
Scope: Project proposals should address one or more of the following areas:
  • Develop, demonstrate and deploy a new generation of highly efficient, intelligent district heating and cooling systems which are capable of integrating multiple efficient generation sources, including different kinds of renewable energy, cogeneration, waste heat from industrial or other sources and storage, and which can be operated at different temperature levels. Such systems can be new schemes or refurbished and optimised existing DH systems. These systems might combine hybrid technologies and/or new thermal carrier fluids to improve the overall efficiency; help decrease the end user cost of transporting heating and cooling energy, be compatible and connected with intelligent electricity and gas networks; and utilize surplus electricity from the grid. Such systems should be compatible with and capable of integration with low-energy buildings, including nearly zero energy buildings (e.g. by means of low-temperature district heating).

Multi-level actions for enhanced Heating & Cooling plans (STRATEGO)

The STRATEGO project aims at supporting national authorities to draft their National Heating and Cooling Plans (NHCP). The project will use the results of the studies Heat Roadmap Europe under which an assessment of the European potential for efficiency in heating and cooling has been carried out together with the mapping of thermal resources and demands. 
STRATEGO will first fine-tune these results and then use these results to support local authorities in taking action so that they can help their national authorities in preparing and developing NHCPs. In particular, STRATEGO partners will support 23 cities/regions to map their local heating and cooling demand and supply and to define areas of priority for intervention. These are areas where the local conditions are favourable for developing projects having the biggest impact (energy, economy, social).
The core of the project will be the running of a coaching scheme between 23 learning regions/cities and 8 experienced regions/cities. Coaching meetings will be organised to ensure cross-border cooperation and exchange of best practices. The geographical focus of STRATEGO is BE, AT, CZ, HR, RO, DE, IT and UK. The support from experienced partners, from DK and SE, will be used. The transferability and implementation of the project results outside the targeted countries will be ensured by the involvement of partners from ES and PL.

Making it real: weather forecasters mention the impact of renewable energies

When renewable energy indicators are part of the weather forecast, the connection between solar thermal, photovoltaic, wind energies and budgets suddenly becomes much more concrete.
Few people can visualise the direct impact of renewable energies. The idea behind the EU-funded EnergizAIR² project - the second edition of EnergizAIR - is to bring basic renewable indicators into people’s daily lives via newspapers, radios, computers and TV.
“On quiet news days, more people watch the weather forecast than the news,” says project coordinator Nathalie Gilly who works for the Belgian APERe association, which promotes renewable energies. “And that’s where we bring concrete illustrations of the impact of renewables energies.”

CALL FOR COMPETITIVE LOW-CARBON ENERGY - Market uptake of existing and emerging sustainable bioenergy

Actions are still needed to foster the development of the bioenergy sector and to ensure its sustainability (Renewable Energy Progress Report [COM(2013)175]). One way to do it is to use more and sustainable bioenergy. However, the EU needs to expand the supply of bioenergy produced in the EU, by encouraging the EU farmers and foresters to produce also energy and energy intermediaries.
In the short- and medium-term perspective, sustainable bioenergy in all its forms is expected to be the main contributor to the de-carbonisation. In order to achieve the EU targets set out in the RES and Fuel Quality Directives, and to address concerns regarding indirect and direct environmental impacts, sustainable bioenergy technologies (both existing and emerging) need to further penetrate the market.
Scope: Proposals should address one or several of the following bullet points using technologies and systems which are already at TRL 7-9 (please see part G of the General Annexes):

CALL FOR COMPETITIVE LOW-CARBON ENERGY - Transmission grid and wholesale market

Demonstration and R&D are needed in interoperable technologies, services, tools, system integration, network synchronisation, co-ordination schemes, business models, cost-benefit analyses, market architectures and rules and regulatory regimes to plan, build, monitor, control and safely operate end-to-end networks across national borders. The integration of renewable energy and emergence of new services and uses of electricity will require major upgrades and reinforcements of the pan-European power system. A realistic implementation of the “smart grids” concept across national borders becomes a requirement to continue the safe operation of the grid.
Scope: Integrating and validating solutions to grid challenges, concentrating on field demonstration of system integration, up-scaling at industrial scale and supporting R&D. Preparing first replication of the solutions in different contexts and/or countries. Appropriate market models, business cases, user and general public acceptance, regulatory, market up-take (e.g. regulatory issues, capacity building and access to finance), social, environmental and resource efficiency aspects should be included. Opening up demonstration facilities for targeted practice-oriented education and training is encouraged. LCA and economic assessments should be refined.


The high penetration rates of variable renewable energy resources entail the need for large scale energy storage to balance the production and consumption of high quantities of electricity and during longer time periods. Demonstration activities in this topic will aim to progress large scale energy storage and reduce the barriers associated with new storage concepts. An important market uptake challenge is to reduce the barriers (technological, economic, regulatory, environmental, social and other acceptance, etc.) associated with the deployment of existing or new storage concepts.
Scope: Activities should focus on storage systems that reached already TRL 5 and bring them to TRL 6-7 (please see part G of the General Annexes). This would include anticipation of potential market and regulatory issues with due consideration to the environmental and socioeconomic aspects and improved models to demonstrate energy storage systems.
Activities should pursue direct electricity or indirect storage (electricity with other energy vectors). The activities must address the interfaces for integrating storage in grid management. Where appropriate, synergies between electricity grid, other energy grids, storage and final energy use must be taken into account.

Why to choose Solar Farms ?

Solar Farms, or solar parks, are the large-scale application of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) installations used to generate electricity.  They often cover large areas of land (between 1 and 100 acres) and therefore they are usually developed in rural locations. Approximately 24 acres of land is required for every 1 megawatts (MW) of installation, enough to power 305 homes.

Solar farms go through a rigorous planning procedure to get approval. This takes into account the suitability of the site, any potential impact on the locality and relevant renewable energy targets.

Why Solar Farms ?

€ 3 million Horizon Prize – Materials for Clean Air

In the European Union, the average life expectancy is estimated to be decreased by 8.6 months, because of exposure to particulate matter resulting from human activities. The inhalation of particulate matter can also lead to adverse effects in the respiratory, cardiovascular, immune, and neural systems. In addition to its effects on the human health, particulate matter can also have adverse effects on climate change and ecosystems.
The Horizon Prize on materials for clean air is a € 3 million prize that will be awarded to the person or team who can most effectively meet the following challenge: develop the best innovative design-driven material solution to reduce the concentration of particulate matter in urban areas.

State aid: Commission temporarily approves rescue aid for Romanian Complexul Energetic Hunedoara

The European Commission has concluded that temporary rescue aid of RON 167 million (approx. €37.7 million) to be granted by the Romanian authorities to Complexul Energetic Hunedoara ("CE Hunedoara"), the state-owned electricity and heat producer in Romania, is in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the Commission found that the aid was limited to the amount necessary to allow CE Hunedoara to continue operating its power plants in the next six months. At the end of this period, the company will either pay back the aid or Romania will notify a restructuring plan, setting out measures to ensure the company's long-term viability.
Following losses in 2013 and 2014, CE Hunedoara is facing significant liquidity problems. Romania will grant short-term loans to CE Hunedoara to enable it to pay creditors and maintain operating activities until it is able to present a restructuring plan.
The Commission found the measure to be in line with its 2014 Guidelines on the rescue and restructuring of companies in difficulties. In particular, the aid amount is limited to what is needed to keep the company in business over the next six months. Moreover, Romania has committed to submit a restructuring plan aimed at ensuring the future viability of CE Hunedoara if the company is unable to pay back the rescue aid in six months' time.

Horizon 2020 Environment: 28 projects selected for funding

Evaluation of the 115 proposals submitted in September 2014 in answer to Horizon 2020's Societal Challenge "Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials" has now been completed (H2020-SC5-WASTE-WATER-2014-Two-Stages calls) and grant agreements for 28 new projects are being prepared.
Experts have selected 28 project proposals reaching the total amount of EUR 184.6 million of which 44.2% was designated to "Growing a low carbon, resource efficient economy with a sustainable supply of raw materials" (SC5), 28.1% to waste as a resource of raw materials, and 27.6% to water innovation. The results from the three calls have been disclosed to all applicants.

Proposals selected per topic

Among all the call topics of the two-stage 2014 call, the Water call leads with 13 selected projects. The success rate was the highest among proposals on “First application and market replication of near-market water solutions" (WATER 1a-2014): 39.2% of the proposals were selected for funding.
The 9 proposals of SC5 within research and innovation actions cover five different call topics ranging from advanced earth-system models to observation and monitoring data usable for ecosystem modelling and services.

Energy Efficiency CALL - Improving the financeability and attractiveness of sustainable energy investments

Specific challenge: Sub-optimal levels of investment in sustainable energy (in particular energy efficiency) are linked to a lack of trust of investors and financiers in the financial viability of sustainable energy measures, a lack of capacity in the public and private sectors to structure their projects, split incentives (e.g. rental buildings), and a lack of large-scale successful flagship projects. New bank capital requirements have decreased banks´ lending capacity and willingness to invest in the sustainable energy sector, which is still deemed by many to be risky
The financial sector needs to be convinced to develop new financing products and practices that can respond to the constraints of the market.
Scope: Project proposals and activities should foster dialogue with and between financial market actors, standardisation and valuation entities, industry, public authorities, consumers and property owners. They should lead to development of new business models and financial products, ensuring synergies of public and private finance.
  • Proposals focusing on the development of frameworks for standardisation and benchmarking of investments, such as labelling and standardisation of sustainable energy investments / portfolios, or valuation techniques integrating the 'green value' of buildings. Proposals integrated in a broader approach such as socially responsible investment or 'green buildings' should focus on the energy component.
  • Proposals targeting public institutional investors (e.g. public or semi-public pension schemes) in order to increase the share of their funds invested in sustainable energy, or to develop specific funds or investment products.
  • Proposals aiming to create EU and national sustainable energy financing platforms to organise dialogue with the relevant stakeholders and (among others) develop roadmaps, propose improvements in the legal frameworks and develop template documents and contracts leading to a better understanding of the market. Proposals must include a clear action plan to communicate across Europe towards potential replicators. The mechanism for knowledge sharing between countries will be established by the Commission services.

Energy Efficiency CALL - Organisational innovation to increase energy efficiency in industry

Specific challenge: Between 2000 and 2010, energy efficiency in industry has on average improved by 1.3% per year. However by using existing cost-effective energy solutions, the industry sector could further reduce its consumption by at least 13%, thus gaining in competitiveness and save nearly 40 Mtoe a year. Obtaining larger savings in industry can also be achieved by introducing new affordable intelligent energy solutions that secures more uptime in production chains.
Scope: Activities should focus on removing market barriers, in particular the lack of expertise and information on energy management. Proposals should primarily address the uptake of cross-cutting innovative technologies, such as energy efficient electric motor driven systems and steam/hot water generation, because these represent 75% of the potential savings in industry. They should also consider total-site energy management schemes and system optimization methodologies to identify saving potentials, monitor progress, and design energy recovery and energy storage solutions. Proposals should put in place mechanisms to secure funding for energy efficiency investments and facilitate the continuation of the activities beyond the project lifetimeThe use of renewable energies and waste heat recovery should be encouraged where it is cost-effective. Energy-intensive industries should be prioritised as they account for 70% of industrial energy use. Processes (e.g. drying) which represent a relatively high share of energy consumption in industry should also be considered where appropriate.