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Call: Uptake of energy audits recommendations for the energy transition of companies

Acronym LIFE-CET
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"LIFE - sub-programme “Clean Energy Transition”"

The specific objectives of the sub-programme "Clean Energy Transition" are the following:

  • to develop, demonstrate and promote innovative techniques, methods and approaches for reaching the objectives of Union legislation and policy on the transition to sustainable renewable energy and increased energy efficiency, and to contribute to the knowledge base and to the application of best practice;
  • to support the development, implementation, monitoring and enforcement of relevant Union legislation and policy on the transition to sustainable renewable energy or increased energy efficiency, including by improving governance at all levels, in particular through enhancing capacities of public and private actors and the involvement of civil society;
  • to catalyse the large-scale deployment of successful technical and policy-related solutions for implementing relevant Union legislation on the transition to renewable energy or increased energy efficiency by replicating results, integrating related objectives into other policies and into public and private sector practices, mobilising investment and improving access to finance.

This sub-programme will fund the activities responding to the specific topics defined in the annual calls for proposals which are based on the list of priority topics. Other activities related to energy efficiency and renewable energy, which do not address the specific requirements of the calls defined under this sub-programme can be submitted to the calls under the Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation sub-programme.

The sub-programme will aim at facilitating the transition toward an energy-efficient, renewable energy-based, climate-neutral and -resilient economy by funding coordination and support actions across Europe. These actions aim at breaking market barriers that hamper the socio-economic transition to sustainable energy, typically engaging multiple small and medium-size stakeholders, multiple actors including local and regional public authorities and non-profit organisations, and involving consumers.

The sub-programme will contribute to the implementation of the energy-related actions of the European Green Deal, including the ‘Renovation wave’ initiative for the building sector and will give due consideration to territories not connected to the European grids such as the EU outermost regions. It will contribute to the Just Transition objectives by accompanying the territories and the groups of citizens negatively affected by the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, by building capacity of actors and fostering clean energy investments, mainly in energy efficiency and locally available, sustainable, renewable energy sources. Activities related to technology development will not be included.

A significant part of this budget will be used to finance Coordination and Support Actions (CSA) under OAs grants for the four year period, whereas the possibility to finance SAPs is only foreseen as from 2023.

It will cover the following areas of intervention:

  • Building a national, regional and local policy framework supporting the clean energy transition:

Increasing coherence of energy transition governance at different levels by enhancing multi-stakeholder dialogue and building the capacity of public authorities to deliver under the national energy and climate plans and/or other plans and strategies (e.g. just transition plans, long-term renovation strategies, strategies for the electrification of the transport system). Supporting the development and effective implementation of clean energy policies, including the relevant Union legislation on products and energy consumers, in the EU and third countries. Supporting actions that put into practice the enabling provisions included in the European legislation on clean energy.

  • Accelerating technology roll-out, digitalisation, new services and business models and enhancement of the related professional skills on the market for the clean energy transition:

Providing support for the decarbonisation of the buildings, industry and tertiary sectors, by fostering market uptake of innovative solutions, including digitalization and circular design in line with the climate neutrality target. Accelerating the clean energy transition by enabling the development of new added-value services and innovative business models. The roll-out of technologies and innovative solutions needs to be accompanied by measures addressing market barriers including support to the development and deployment of new skills and frameworks (labels, certificates, technological and non-technological standards, e.g. for interoperability, etc.).

  • Attracting private finance for sustainable energy:

To upscale investments in sustainable energy, different capital flows need to be made available by addressing both supply and demand of finance, and by using public funds effectively. Supply side activities include: data collection, methodology and evidence-based risk management; harmonisation of definition and measuring of sustainable investments; development of innovative financing mechanisms, products, services and practices; standardisation and aggregation of projects and investments; simplification of the process for investors; capacity building and dialogue. Activities should contribute to EU policy and legislation in the field of sustainable finance.

  • Supporting the development of local and regional investment projects:

Build capacity of local public authorities and private investors, notably community collective investors. Facilitate dialogue with the financial sector to deliver sustainable energy investments, including tailored actions contributing to a fair society and to a just energy transition in EU regions most dependent on fossil fuels or carbon intensive processes. Promote public procurement of energy and resource efficient works, supplies and services. Support tailored approaches for local actors to develop investment concepts, implement organisational innovations and aggregate projects. Improve market conditions and develop new integrated services offers for sustainable energy in buildings, transport, ports, and SMEs.

  • Involving and empowering citizens in the clean energy transition:

Support citizens in taking an active role in the clean energy transition, including targeted support for collective actions, community and citizen-led initiatives and development of new energy services and social innovations. Strengthen collaboration between local authorities and citizen-led initiatives. Support actions that contribute to alleviate energy poverty. Foster energy literacy and sustainable energy behaviour of citizens, in particular younger generations.

Link Link to Programme
Uptake of energy audits recommendations for the energy transition of companies
Description of call
"Uptake of energy audits recommendations for the energy transition of companies"


Engaging, supporting and accelerating the transition of EU companies towards a sustainable growth model is one of the ambitious objectives of the European Green Deal. Businesses represented about 74% of the EU’s final energy consumption in 2018, mainly in the transport (31%), industry (26%) and services (14%) sectors. Since individual cases vary significantly - depending on the market sector, energy intensity, importance of energy in the production process, energy mix and prices, exposure to competition, country, size of the company, profitability, etc. – support actions for companies to increase energy efficiency and move to renewable energy sources need to be adapted to these specificities in order to deliver results.

Article 8(1) and Article 8(4) of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) establish the two main obligations for Member States to promote the availability of energy audits and to ensure that large enterprises carry out regular energy audits or have an Energy Management System (EMS) in place. In the last years, energy audits did prove to be a valid instrument to tackle the information gap that is one of the main barriers to energy efficiency, but only a small share of the measures recommended are implemented.

The key objective of this topic is to increase the uptake of such measures in companies using a holistic approach. In fact, several factors can explain why the implementation of audit recommendations remains insufficient, e.g. the unavailability of human resources to work on energy and their lack of knowledge on how to gather energy-related information and introduce new solutions. When considering investments, obstacles include the uncertainty on actual energy savings that will be achieved, long payback times, difficulty to access to finance (internal or external) and limited public incentives. Moreover, the multiple benefits of energy efficiency are often underestimated, especially by smaller and non-energy-intensive companies.

The energy audit process, managed internally or delivered through third parties such as energy auditors, engineers and financial advisors, risks to be fragmented due to the different skills and constraints at each step of the process. This topic aims at enhancing the skills of energy auditors and/or technicians to transform a technical study (boiler room level) into a strategic proposition which can be attractive to the top management (board room level) as well as to improve their know-how to access public incentives and private finance.


Proposals should implement tailor-made support activities covering the whole process from energy audit to implementation of measures, and potentially beyond, leading to a significant increase in the rate of concrete implementation of audit recommendations.

Depending on the readiness level of the targeted companies, proposals may deliver operational support directly to companies as a service, or tailored capacity building and advisory to company staff (both at management and operational level), provided that activities lead to the actual implementation of the recommended measures.

Support to companies could include:

  • Energy scans and detailed energy audits, based on sector-specific benchmarks
  • Analysis and evaluation of the multiple benefits of energy efficiency (resource efficiency, comfort, health, productivity, staff satisfaction, reputation, etc.)
  • Formulation of the strategic value for management (risk mitigation, link to company core business and to environmental, social, and corporate governance)
  • Support in managing the engineering phase
  • Matchmaking with finance in terms of public grants but also bank loans and potentially private investors

Support to company staff (technical services, top management, financial departments) could include capacity building and advisory, for example on:

  • Enhancement of corporate culture at all levels towards greener objectives
  • Change management and re-organisation
  • Embedding sustainable energy into the corporate communication strategy
  • Promoting the use of digital solutions, including EMSs based on ISO 50001, in order to achieve higher efficiency, more precision on data of consumption/savings, and better preparation for the uptake of demand/response services

Other activities at the sector / territory level may include the following, provided they are instrumental to the uptake of energy audit recommendations :

  • Surveys and benchmarking to identify target companies
  • Aggregation of individual companies / measures to reach a critical size and make them more attractive to Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) and private financiers
  • Standardisation of processes and documentation from the technical and financial point of view
  • Capacity building for all actors involved internally and/or externally

Proposals should clearly identify and justify the economic sectors (NACE), size of enterprises and/or territories on which they focus and demonstrate the adequacy of their proposed approach. They should also demonstrate the support and active involvement of key stakeholders, such as professional federations, local and regional authorities, chambers of commerce, etc.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 1.75 million would allow the specific objectives to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

Proposals are expected to demonstrate the impacts listed below:

  • Increased rate of transformation of energy audits into concrete measure implementation
  • Number of companies benefitting from direct support
  • Number of energy audits carried out within the project
  • Number of company staff with improved skills/knowledge
  • Number of energy auditors / other stakeholders with improved skills / knowledge
  • Contribution to a better implementation of Art. 8 of the EED
  • Primary energy savings triggered by the project (in GWh/year)
  • Renewable energy generation triggered by the project (in GWh/year)
  • Investments in sustainable energy triggered by the project (cumulative, in million Euro)
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Thematic Focus Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Green Technologies & Green Deal, Climate, Climate Change, Environment & Biodiversity, Circular Economy, Sustainability, Natural Resources, Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation, Digitisation, ICT, Telecommunication
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Albania / Shqipëria
Iceland / Ísland
Israel / ישראל / إسرائيل
Turkey / Türkiye
Ukraine / Україна Oukraïna
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Albania / Shqipëria
Iceland / Ísland
Israel / ישראל / إسرائيل
Turkey / Türkiye
Ukraine / Україна Oukraïna
Eligible applicants Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, Research Institution, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, International Organization, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Education and Training Centres, Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), NGO / NPO, Public Services, Other, National Government, Start Up Company, University, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Association
Applicant details

In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:

  • be legal entities (public or private bodies)
  • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
    • EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs))
    • non-EU countries:
      • listed EEA countries and countries associated to the LIFE Programme (participating countries) or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature
  • the coordinator must be established in an eligible country
Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details

Proposals must be submitted by at least 3 applicants (beneficiaries; not affiliated entities) from 3 different eligible countries.

Entities from other countries are exceptionally eligible, if the granting authority considers their participation essential for the implementation of the action (see work programme).

Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of self-employed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person).

International organisations are eligible. The rules on eligible countries do not apply to them.

Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees for the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons34.

EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.

Entities composed of members may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’. Please note that if the action will be implemented by the members, they should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible).

Beneficiaries from countries with ongoing negotiations may participate in the call and can sign grants if the negotiations are concluded before grant signature (with retroactive effect, if provided in the agreement).

Special rules apply for certain entities (e.g. entities subject to EU restrictive measures under Article 29 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) and Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU) and entities covered by Commission Guidelines No 2013/C 205/0537). Such entities are not eligible to participate in any capacity, including as beneficiaries, affiliated entities, associated partners, subcontractors or recipients of financial support to third parties (if any).

Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

Proposals must be complete and contain all the requested information and all required annexes and supporting documents:

  • Application Form Part A — contains administrative information about the participants (future coordinator, beneficiaries and affiliated entities) and the summarised budget for the project (to be filled in directly online)
  • Application Form Part B — contains the technical description of the project (to be downloaded from the Portal Submission System, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded)
  • Part C (to be filled in directly online) containing additional project data
  • mandatory annexes and supporting documents (to be uploaded):
    • detailed budget table (mandatory excel template available in the Submission System)
    • participant information (mandatory template available in the Submission System)
  • optional annexes: letters of support

Page limit - Part B: 70 pages

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details

Topic budget: EUR 5,500,000.00

Funding rate for Coordination and Support Actions: up to 95%
Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Contact Details

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