H2020 Programme

Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is the EU's funding programme for research and innovation, with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020). Horizon 2020 couples research and innovation, and has an emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.

More information about the Horizon 2020 programme is available on the Horizon 2020 website.

Energy Efficiency

Horizon 2020 is structured in several sections, including "Excellent Science", "Industrial Leadership" and "Societal Challenges". The energy efficiency calls managed by EASME come under Societal Challenge 3 "Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy".

Horizon 2020 Energy Efficiency provides support for innovation through research and demonstration of more energy-efficient technologies and solutions; and market uptake measures to remove market and governance barriers by addressing financing, regulations and the improvement of skills and knowledge. The programme supports the research, demonstration and market up-take of energy-efficient technologies. Funds are available to support energy-efficient buildings, industry, heating and cooling, SMEs and energy-related products and services, as well as for improving the attractiveness of energy-efficiency investments.

Intelligent Energy Europe 

Intelligent Energy – Europe (IEE) is now closed, although a number of projects funded under the programme are continuing. The EU's Horizon 2020 programme now supports the research, demonstration and market up-take of energy-efficient technologies

Intelligent Energy – Europe (IEE) offered a helping hand to organisations willing to improve energy sustainability. Launched in 2003 by the European Commission, the programme was part of a broad push to create an energy-intelligent future for us all. It supported EU energy efficiency and renewable energy policies, with a view to reaching the EU 2020 targets (20% cut in greenhouse gas emissions, 20% improvement in energy efficiency and 20% of renewables in EU energy consumption).

Most parts of the IEE programme were run by the Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (EACI) - which has become the Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME) - on behalf of the European Commission.

IEE created better conditions for a more sustainable energy future in areas as varied as renewable energy, energy-efficient buildings, industry, consumer products and transport.

The expectation was that by doing this, Europe would also boost its competitiveness, security of energy supply, and innovation standing for the years to come.

Running until 2013, the programme was open to all EU Member States, plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. A budget of € 730 million was available to fund projects and put into place a range of European portals, facilities and initiatives.

If you want to learn more about what have been achieved, have a look at the Publications section.

IEE project funding

A large part of the programme budget was made available through annual calls for proposals to support projects putting the concept of 'intelligent energy' in practice. Carried out by public, private or non-governmental European organisations, they supported three main objectives - more energy efficiency, more renewables, and better transport and mobility. This covered, for instance, new training schemes, promotion campaigns, and the transfer of good practices between EU countries.

Type of funding

  • The majority of the programme's budget went to funding projects across the EU that support and promote energy efficiency and renewable energy
  • Project development assistance (PDA) facilities for public authorities, public bodies and financial institutions: MLEI-PDA, EIB-ELENA, KfW-ELENA, CEB-ELENA, EBRD-ELENA supported the preparation of and mobilisation of financing for bankable sustainable energy projects. 
  • Procurement of products and services: used to obtain studies and services the European Commission or the EASME need to achieve the objectives underlying the IEE Programme.

Funding areas

  • Energy efficiency and the rational use of energy (SAVE): Funding in this area mainly targeted the improvement of energy efficiency and the rational use of resources in the industry, products and building sectors.

  • New and renewable resources (ALTENER): In this area, funding was provided to increase the share of renewables in the production of electricity, heat and cooling, and to integrate them in the local energy systems.

  • Energy in transport (STEER): This strand covered initiatives targeting energy savings and energy efficiency in the transport sector, including stimulation of demand for alternative fuels and clean and energy-efficient vehicles.

  • Integrated initiatives: These initiatives covered several economic sectors or several of the main areas of energy efficiency, new and renewable resources and energy in transport at the same time. Projects educating children, tomorrow's energy savers and consumers, are covered by this part of the programme.

Find out more about projects that have been co-financed by IEE in the Projects section.

IEE services

A number of online portals were created with the help of the Intelligent Energy – Europe (IEE) programme to provide valuable information to all those working on energy efficiency and renewable energy at the local and regional level, and in relation to buildings and mobility. Those include: BUILD UP, Clean Vehicle Europe, Eltis, ManagEnergy, BUILD UP Skills, Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, U4Energy. A number of them continue to be active:

Logo Covenant of Mayors

Concerted Actions

Concerted Actions assist Member States to implement EU legislation cost-effectively. They help implementing bodies in each country to share experiences with the EU Directives on Energy Performance of Buildings, Energy Efficiency (formerly Energy Services) and Renewable Energy. Funding for the Concerted Actions began under the IEE programme but since that programme’s end in 2013, it continued under Horizon 2020. Read more about the Concerted Actions.

See the infographic of the Intelligent Energy Europe programme’s results. 

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