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27 October 2017


Call summary

This call includes the contribution of the Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge "Secure, clean and efficient energy" to the focus area "Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future" which underpins the goals of the Paris Agreement and the "Clean Energy for all European" package, including the Communication "Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation" (COM (2016) 736) and the SET-Plan priorities, with concrete R&I actions focussing on the accelerated transformation of the energy system, and other sectors, towards carbon neutrality and climate resilience. Activities also fully contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals and the Horizon 2020 spending targets on Sustainable Development and climate action.

Achieving climate neutrality in the energy sector – while ensuring at the same time a more efficient energy use, a secure supply of energy, affordable prices and low environmental impact – is a complex endeavour which requires R&I activities on multiple fronts. Activities supported in this call should deliver:

  • on the supply side, cheaper and more performant generation technologies (e.g. renewable energy technologies) which are better integrated in various levels of the energy system;.
  • a smarter, more flexible and resilient energy system (including affordable and integrated energy storage solutions), taking into account current and future climate change adverse impacts;.
  • on the demand side, increased overall energy efficiency (e.g. in the EU's building stock) and provision of means to enable consumers to play a more active role in the energy transition;.
  • a better understanding of the specific socio-economic contexts in which the energy transition takes place which will allow to address obstacles in a more effective way;.
  • increased market-uptake of innovations, including the implementation of energy policy, the preparation for rolling-out investments, and the support for capacity-building.

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency needs to be considered as a source of energy in its own right. It is one of the most cost effective ways to support the transition to a low carbon economy, to prompt further investment opportunities and to create growth and employment. Putting energy efficiency first will bring down costs for consumers, reduce our import dependency and redirect investments towards the kind of infrastructure that are smart and sustainable.

An ambitious approach to energy efficiency is needed across all the sectors, but the major challenge of the next decade – in line with the ACEI priority to decarbonise the EU building stock by 2050[[COM (2016) 763]] – lies in buildings. Buildings represent 40% of energy used in the EU and the construction industry provides 18 million direct jobs in Europe, while SMEs contribute to 70% of the value added in the EU building sector. Renovating buildings adds almost twice as much value as the construction of new buildings and represents multiple benefits for building owners, occupants and the whole society. Proper valuation of these multiple benefits, supported under this call, will help to change business approach to buildings renovation ensuring flows of financing and massive investments. This, in turn, will improve living/working conditions of the Europeans, spur economic growth and create jobs.

With the transition to a decentralised and decarbonised energy system, digital smart technologies will be playing an increasingly important role. Not only that they will enable buildings and equipment in buildings to become interactive elements by optimising energy consumption, distributed generation and storage in the home and vis-à-vis the energy system. They will also trigger new business opportunities and revenue streams for up-graded, innovative energy services which valorise energy savings and flexible consumption. This call supports both technology and business development and test it in real market & regulatory conditions to pave the way towards the uptake of innovative energy services enabled by energy decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitalisation. That way, active consumers will not only be able to benefit from cost reductions but also from a bigger variety of services that bring along a more comfortable, convenient and healthier living environment.

Innovation is however also needed in the financing of energy efficiency where innovative financing schemes and approaches can help bridge the gap between project development and financing.

Actions included in this call contribute to the specific objectives, targets and relevant Implementation Plans[[For further information please consult the SETIS website:]]of the SET Plan action 5.1 and 5.2. In particular, topic LC-SC3-EE-1-2018-2019-2020 aims at development and deployment of the materials and technologies for energy efficiency solutions for buildings renovation including renovation of buildings heating and cooling systems. As regards industrial energy efficiency, topic LC-SC3-EE-6-2018-2019-2020 has been designed to address the cross-cutting priority of SET Plan Action 6: maximising the recovery of industrial excess heat/cold in a cost efficient manner. The choice of a cross-cutting priority rather than a sector-specific one has been taken in order to maximise EU added value of the funded projects.

(The above text is applicable to these groups of topics and shall be taken into account during the evaluation of proposals:

Upgrading buildings'' energy performance and smartness:

LC-SC3-EE-1-2018-2019-2020; LC-SC3-EE-2-2018-2019; LC-SC3-EE-3-2019-2020; LC-SC3-EE-4-2019-2020; LC-SC3-EE-5-2018-2019-2020.

Energy efficient industry and services:

LC-SC3-EE-6-2018-2019-2020; LC-SC3-EE-8-2018-2019; LC-SC3-EE-7-2020.

Energy efficiency is an investment:

LC-SC3-EE-9-2018-2019; LC-SC3-EE-10-2018-2019-2020; LC-SC3-EE-11-2018-2019-2020; LC-SC3-EE-12-2020.

Energy efficiency is an energy source:

LC-SC3-EE-13-2018-2019-2020; LC-SC3-EE-14-2018-2019-2020.

Support for policy-driven innovations:

LC-SC3-EE-15-2018; LC-SC3-EE-16-2018-2019-2020; LC-SC3-EE-17-2019.


Global leadership in renewables

The Energy Union Strategy has set the target for the EU to achieve global leadership in renewable energies. Increased R&I efforts for renewable energy are indispensable hence renewables are identified as a core R&I priority in the Energy Union Strategy and the "Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation" Communication. The "Clean Energy for all Europeans" package underpins the EU's ambition by a number of legislative proposals and non-legislative initiatives, notably the recast of the Renewable Energy Directive which creates the enabling framework for Member States to unlock their renewables' potential and collectively reach a share of at least 27 % in the Union final energy consumption by 2030 in a cost-effective way.

The Energy Union priorities, also in the area of renewable energy, are jointly implemented by the stakeholder community, national authorities and the Commission through the key actions of the EU Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan), notably action 1 ("Performant renewable technologies integrated in the system) and action 2 ("Reduce costs of technologies"). To attain these goals, ambitious R&I targets have been set in agreement with the sectorial stakeholders, for renewable technologies with great potential for cost-reductions, performance improvements and large-scale deployment worldwide – off-shore wind energy, the next generation of solar photovoltaics (PVs), ocean energy, concentrated solar power (CSP), deep geothermal energy and bioenergy. Furthermore, goals were set to increase renewable penetration in the heating and cooling sector and to strengthen market take-up of renewable fuels needed for sustainable transport solutions. While it is expected that the Member States will take coordinated actions towards the priorities and targets set by the SET-Plan, a strong and concerted effort also from the EU is needed to sustain the technological and economic leading position in some renewable technologies and to catch up in areas where the EU is lagging behind. Projects supported in this area contribute to the specific objectives, targets and relevant Implementation Plans of the SET Plan actions 1, 2 and 8[[For further information please consult the SETIS website:]].

Activities fully reflect the "Open Science, Open Innovation and Open to the World Strategy" – supporting open science and the new approach of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) by providing access to relevant research results while moving up the TRL scale innovative solutions; providing support opportunities for opening markets to innovative solutions and for turning research results into successful products; being open to the world, proactively exploring international cooperation activities in the precompetitive research phase, and fostering local market adaption via frugal innovation of available technologies for emerging global markets.

The challenge is to create an EU industrial renewable energy sector which is economically sustainable and competitive in European and global markets in the long-term. For this purpose, this area supports activities across the full innovation chain, from identifying breakthrough technologies to supporting the entire portfolio of renewable energy technologies at laboratory scale, dedicating support to validation in relevant environment of most promising technologies, finally supporting market up take introduction with collaborative and not purely technological activities. It features tailored approaches, taking into account technology-specific challenges, potential, cultural aspects, levels of maturity, risk, and competitiveness aspects.

This call includes 4 lines of interventions:

  1. breakthrough technology development,.
  2. renewable energy solutions for implementation at consumer scale (encompassing generation of energy in all its form, starting from electricity only generation to also encompass combined heating and cooling solutions, from domestic to industrial and district scale),.
  3. renewable energy solutions for implementation at the energy system level (oriented to reduce the costs of electricity generated, to optimise system operation and improve processes and components manufacturing, to provide flexibility to the system), and.
  4. renewable fuels for transport (aiming both feedstock and process improvements and supporting road, aviation and shipping sectors in particular).

In addition, specific actions with an international dimension are set out, notably in the context of the "Mission Innovation" initiative. A special focus is also on adapting emerging renewable energy technologies to the African context by fostering cooperation and concerted actions with the Member States and Associated countries (see area "Joint actions" of this work programme part). Activities are complemented by the Horizon Prize on Artificial Photosynthesis which is included in the "European Innovation Council (EIC) Pilot" part of the work programme.

Actions in this area aim to produce solutions to support the worldwide large-scale deployment of renewable energy, its broader penetration in the energy and transport mix to significantly contribute to the decarbonisation of the global economy of the future. Actions will make renewable energy solutions in the broader sense (i.e. including the use of the renewable source and all the features needed for performing in a complex and integrated energy system) cost competitive with their fossil equivalents, allowing them to participate in the energy and transport markets on a level playing field. They will support the transition to a decentralized energy system where the citizens are empowered to take an active role and become prosumers. In addition to the Energy Union strategy, actions will contribute to the broader EU policies and objectives of growth and jobs, promoting production of more affordable energy in Europe and sustaining European players to succeed in the global energy and transport markets, giving special consideration to cooperation with strategic partner countries/regions.

(The above text is applicable to these groups of topics and shall be taken into account during the evaluation of proposals:

Next Renewable energy solutions:

The focus of these actions is to support research activities aiming at identifying renewable energy breakthroughs that will feed the innovation cycle and become the basis of the next generation of EU technologies.

LC-SC3-RES-1-2019-2020; LC-SC3-RES-2-2018; LC-SC3-RES-3-2020.

Renewable energy solutions for implementation at consumer scale:

The focus of these actions will vary, depending on the number of consumers involved, from individual and residential buildings, to industrial sites and district systems. Solutions explored under this line of intervention consider holistically the consumer energy needs, from electricity generation to heating and cooling services, aiming to develop near-zero fossil energy solutions for buildings and districts. The solutions should allow for a significant part of the energy to be consumed at the place of production, fostering the emergence of the energy prosumers and therefore enabling the consumer participation into the energy transformation.

  • Energy generation at building scale:.

LC-SC3-RES-4-2018; LC-SC3-RES-5-2018; LC-SC3-RES-6-2018.

  • Renewable energy solutions at the district level and for industrial processes:.

LC-SC3-RES-7-2019; LC-SC3-RES-8-2019; LC-SC3-RES-9-2020; LC-SC3-RES-10-2020.

Renewable energy solutions for energy system level implementation:

The focus of these actions is to reduce capital and operational costs, to increase reliability and to provide flexibility to the energy system. Solutions should be implemented at the system level, namely in those cases where the renewable energy that is inserted into the network, is to be transmitted and distributed to the end user and not, or only in minimal part, used for self-consumption.

  • Reduce costs of key technologies for renewable energy conversion:.

LC-SC3-RES-11-2018; LC-SC3-RES-12-2018; LC-SC3-RES-13-2018.

  • Optimize processes and manufacturing:.

LC-SC3-RES-14-2019; LC-SC3-RES-15-2019.

  • Provide flexibility to the energy system:.

LC-SC3-RES-16-2019; LC-SC3-RES-17-2019; LC-SC3-RES-18-2020; LC-SC3-RES-19-2020; LC-SC3-RES-20-2020.

Renewable Fuels for transport:

The actions address the competitiveness of the next generation of biofuels and renewable fuel technologies as well as the up-scaling of advanced biofuels for specific transport needs in a cost-effective way. Furthermore, they aim at achieving European leadership in global development of specific disruptive technologies for a complete ultimate replacement of fossil fuels.

  • Drop-in renewable fuel solutions for fossil-fuel substitutions:.

LC-SC3-RES-21-2018; LC-SC3-RES-22-2018.

  • Upscaling renewable fuels production:.

LC-SC3-RES-23-2019; LC-SC3-RES-24-2019.

  • Diversifying feedstock:.

LC-SC3-RES-25-2020; LC-SC3-RES-26-2020; LC-SC3-RES-27-2020.

Market Uptake Support:



Smart and clean energy for consumers

The Clean Energy for all Europeans package places consumers firmly at the centre of the energy transition, with consumers considered as active market players in the energy system. The future consumer should be better informed and more aware, and have an increased capacity to fully engage in energy markets.

Such a transition requires consumers to change their energy consumption behaviour and increase their uptake of different forms of active demand solutions and services, including collective actions. To this end, remaining regulatory and market barriers for consumers should be addressed and innovative engagement and support schemes should be made more readily available to consumers, allowing for improved understanding of the benefits of engaging actively in the energy system. At the same time, it is important to develop a better understanding of the drivers of consumer acceptance and behaviour change in relation to energy efficiency.

Although the energy transition is expected to lead to a number of benefits for consumers, energy poverty continues to affect the quality of life of a significant number of European citizens. In combination with financial interventions and building retrofitting, low-cost measures at the household level and use of renewable energy are key solutions in alleviating energy poverty. Energy distributors under the energy efficiency obligation schemes, and public authorities play a central role in delivering energy efficiency measures and providing sustainable solutions to affected households.

Consumers may also play in the future an important role in engaging in clean energy, in particular in the decarbonisation of the electricity system which currently integrates 30% of production from renewable energy sources. We should therefore already test today what are the right incentives that can be put in place so as to reward them when playing a role in increasing the share of variable renewables in the electricity mix by, for example, by differing their consumption depending on the availability of this 'green' electricity. To be successful, the R&I community should not look only at consumers from an electricity grid perspective but make particular effort to understand how consumers consider, use and value the electricity grid and the services it provides to them.

Activities supported in this area contribute to the specific objectives, targets and relevant Implementation Plans of the SET Plan action 3 ( For further information please consult the SETIS website:

(The above text is applicable to this group of topics and shall be taken into account during the evaluation of proposals:

LC-SC3-EC-1-2018-2019-2020; LC-SC3-EC-2-2018-2019-2020; LC-SC3-EC-3-2020.


Smart citizen-centred energy system

The EU''s energy policy package "Clean Energy for all Europeans" (adopted by the Commission on 30 November 2016) puts the citizen in the centre of the EU''s energy system. Actions are needed to support the best implementation of this ambitious legislative proposal. Therefore this section of the Work Programme on Integrated Energy Systems aims, among others, at preparing and testing solutions to support the new proposals for directives and regulations which are shaping the energy system of the future. In addition, the energy transition proposed in "Clean Energy for all European" insists on the importance to decarbonise heating and cooling, electricity and transport.

Therefore two main lines of actions are proposed:

  1. Electricity markets and consumers, interacting with other energy vectors with topics LC-SC3 EC-3-2020 (in the "Smart and clean energy for consumer" area) as well as topics LC-SC3-ES-1-2019, LC-SC3-ES-2-2019, LC-SC3-ES-5-2018-2020 and LC-SC3-ES-6-2019;.
  2. Decarbonisation of local energy systems whether on islands or on the continent with topics LC-SC3-ES-3 2018-2020, LC-SC3-ES-4-2018-2020 and LC-SC3-ES-8-2019.

These two lines of actions also contribute to the specific objectives, targets and relevant Implementation Plans of the SET Plan action 4.1 on ''An optimised power grid'' and 4.2 on ''Integrated local and regional energy systems''[[For further information please consult the SETIS website:]].

Common requirements regarding proposals relevant to "Electricity markets and consumers, interacting with other energy vectors" (topic LC-SC3-EC-3-2020 of the previous section, as well as topics LC-SC3-ES-1-2019, LC-SC3-ES-2-2019, LC-SC3-ES-5-2018-2020 and LC-SC3-ES-6-2019)

Since the associated directives and regulations will be negotiated with the Parliament and the Council in the coming years, it is important to ensure coherence and organise a feedback from the R&I projects towards policy makers. We will therefore pursue the BRIDGE initiative[[]] which integrates and structures feedback of projects along, for the time being, four lines:

  1. Business models.
  2. Customer engagement.
  3. Data management.
  4. Regulation.

Ongoing projects of the 2014, 2015 and 2016 calls have delivered first results and the relevant Innovation Actions from the 2018 to 2020 will also be asked to contribute (i.e. topic LC-SC3-ES-6-2019-2020 is a priori not concerned). Relevant regulatory issues should be analysed also in the context of the future electricity market design.

Proposers should demonstrate in the content of their proposal a good knowledge and compatibility with current regulations, available or emerging standards and interoperability issues applying to their technologies, in particular in connection to ongoing work in the Smart Grid Task Force and its Experts Groups in the field of Standardization (e.g. follow-up activities to the CEN-CLC-ETSI M/490), regulatory environment for privacy, data protection, data management and alignment of data formats (e.g. the work of the ad-hoc group on “My Energy Data” and its respective follow-up), cyber security, smart grid deployment, infrastructure and industrial policy (

Projects dealing with data handling and management should comply with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation[[Regulation (EU) 2016/679]] and industry standards, especially the Data Protection Impact Assessment Template[[Supported by the Commission Recommendation 2014/724/EU]]. A high level of cyber security should be guaranteed in compliance with relevant EU security legislation[[Directive (EU) 2016/1148]] and with due regard of best available techniques for ensuring the highest level of protection[[Best Available Techniques for data protection and security regarding the ten minimum functional requirements for smart metering which were proposed in the Commission Recommendation 2012/148/EU.]].

The topics in this area should contribute to test a certain number of approaches proposed in the legislative package ''Clean Energy for All European'' and develop technologies and solutions which will enable these approaches to be implemented under economic conditions.

Overall, the topics proposed should also contribute to the 2030 Climate-Energy objectives (40% GHG reduction with respect to 1990, at least 27% of renewables by 2030).

A first group of topics (LC-SC3-ES-1-2019, LC-SC3-ES-2-2019 and ES-5-2018-2020) is expected to increase the capacity of the European electricity grid to host a larger share of variable renewables so as to accelerate its decarbonisation. For this purpose, stronger engagement of consumers is needed, more flexibility services for both distribution and the transmission grids, higher levels of regional cooperation (i.e. cooperation between a group of neighbouring countries) at transmission levels and well-functioning retail and wholesale markets that are capable of financing necessary investments.

A second group of topics (LC-SC3-ES-3-2018-2020, LC-SC3-ES-4-2018-2020 and LC-SC3-ES-8-2019) is expected to impact on the decarbonisation of energy systems on geographical islands and at local levels on the mainland taking advantage of the availability of local renewables resources, the specificity of the demand and of the local energy networks to design and demonstrate low carbon local energy system.

(The above text is applicable to this group of topics and shall be taken into account during the evaluation of proposals:

LC-SC3-ES-1-2019; LC-SC3-ES-2-2019; LC-SC3-ES-3-2018-2020; LC-SC3-ES-4-2018-2020; LC-SC3-ES-5-2018-2020; LC-SC3-ES-6-2019; LC-SC3-ES-7-2018; LC-SC3-ES-8-2019.


Smart Cities and Communities

See topic LC-SC3-SCC-1-2018-2019-2020.

Enabling near-zero CO2 emissions from fossil fuel power plants and carbon intensive industries

CCS is one of the key promising technologies that can reduce CO2 emissions in the power generation sector and the only pathway for very stringent GHG emission reductions from energy and/or carbon intensive industries that generate CO2 as part of their production processes.

In order to realise its potential, CCS needs to become a cost-competitive technology and prove its safety (mainly regarding pipeline transportation and storage), so that it could start to be commercially deployed and thus contribute to the low-carbon transition of the European economy. Key challenges are the demonstration of the full CCS chain, the reduction of the energy penalty and cost of capture, the detailed appraisal of cost-effective storage capacity in selected regions, and establishing the necessary infrastructure for CO2 transport.

New solutions for the conversion of captured CO2 (CCU) to useful products such as fuels or chemicals will create new markets for innovative industrial sectors and can play a role in supporting the deployment of CCS by offsetting the high costs of capture and storage.

The integration of flexible fossil fuel power generation and storage (including through power-to-X-to-power) will contribute to a smart, secure and more resilient power system.

The Energy Union priorities, also in the area of enabling near-zero CO2 emissions from fossil fuel power plants and carbon intensive industries, are jointly implemented by the stakeholder community, national authorities and the Commission through the key actions of the EU Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan), notably action 9 (CCUS) and action 4 (resilience, security and smartness of the energy system). To attain these goals, ambitious R&I targets have been set in agreement with the sectorial stakeholders. In action 9, the focus is on cost-reductions, new technologies and proliferation of pilots and demonstrators. In action 4, goals were set to increase the flexibility of fossil fuel power plants. While it is expected that the Member States will take coordinated actions towards the priorities and targets set by the SET-Plan, a strong and concerted effort also from the EU is needed to sustain the technological and economic leading position in some technologies and to catch up in areas where the EU is lagging behind. Activities supported in this area contribute to the specific objectives, targets and relevant Implementation Plans of the SET Plan action 9 and 4 (For further information please consult the SETIS website:

(The above text is applicable to this group of topics and shall be taken into account during the evaluation of proposals:

LC-SC3-NZE-1-2018; CE-SC3-NZE-2-2018; LC-SC3-NZE-3-2018; LC-SC3-NZE-4-2019; LC-SC3-NZE-5-2019-2020; LC-SC3-NZE-6-2020.


Joint Actions

The Commission Communication "Towards an Integrated Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan"[[C(2015) 6317]] reiterates that achieving the objectives and ambitions of the Energy Union requires more effective coordination of research and innovation (R&I) activities to avoid unnecessary duplication of funding and efforts. Partnerships between organisations in the public sector, or between public and private sector entities involved in funding energy R&I activities, are a crucial means of achieving this goal. The Communication also calls for more joint actions, and specifically mentions Horizon 2020 instruments as a concrete way to support this objective.

Public funding is essential in supporting new technologies in their early stages, and has been fundamental in the past in providing the EU with a competitive edge in various energy technologies. But public funding accounts for only around 19% of all energy R&I funding in the EU (excluding the nuclear sector), with the rest provided by the private sector. And of this, only 4% is funding from EU R&I programmes, with the rest coming from national R&I programmes[[SWD(2017) 32, 2014 figures.]]. It is therefore crucial that public funding is used as effectively as possible.

The SET Plan provides the strategic framework for the best possible use of this funding. Topics in this section complement the activities of other public funders in Europe by focusing on activities with clear European Union added value, and in particular on those with a high potential to leverage funding from other sources and therefore maximise the reach of Horizon 2020. This is a crucial objective of the SET Plan as well as the overall goal of the European Research Area.

This section of the Work Programme provides support for joint actions and public partnerships between European, national and regional funding agencies and procurers through the use of several Horizon 2020 instruments.

Topic LC-SC3-JA-1-2018 supports ERA-NET Cofund actions. Topic LC-SC3-JA-2-2018 provides support for the execution of the Implementation Plans produced by of the SET Plan Temporary Working Groups, which are expected to be endorsed by the SET Plan Steering Group during 2017 and the beginning of 2018. Topic LC-SC3-JA-3-2018 makes use of procurement to push forward the research and development of wave energy solutions.

Topics LC-SC3-JA-4-2018 and LC-SC3-JA-5-2019 are linked to Africa and the opportunities it presents for European research and industry. R&I cooperation in this area will reinforce the EU commitments under the Paris Agreement, the Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development and the Cotonou Agreement. This initiative contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal on energy by ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. It will also contribute to the priorities set up by the EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue on Science, Technology and Innovation.

The objective of topics included in this area is to facilitate the creation or continuation of energy R&I public partnerships between the European Commission and/or countries and regions in Europe and beyond. These public partnerships will have as a goal to contribute to the objectives and ambitions of the Energy Union and the Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan, and to continue developing a European Research Area in energy.

(The above text is applicable to this group of topics and shall be taken into account during the evaluation of proposals:

LC-SC3-JA-1-2018; LC-SC3-JA-2-2018; LC-SC3-JA-3-2019; LC-SC3-JA-4-2018; LC-SC3-JA-5-2019.


Cross-cutting issues

See topics LC-SC3-CC-1-2018-2019-2020; LC-SC3-CC-2-2018; LC-SC3-CC-3-2019; LC-SC3-CC-4-2018; LC-SC3-CC-5-2018; LC-SC3-CC-6-2018.