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Call: Clean Energy Transition

Acronym HE-CL5-D3
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Horizon Europe - Cluster 5 - Destination 3: Sustainable, secure and competitive energy supply"

This Destination includes activities targeting a sustainable, secure and competitive energy supply. In line with the scope of cluster 5, this includes activities in the areas of renewable energy; energy system, grids and storage; as well as Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS).

The transition of the energy system will rely on reducing the overall energy demand and making the energy supply side climate neutral. R&I actions will help to make the energy supply side cleaner, more secure, and competitive by boosting cost performance and reliability of a broad portfolio of renewable energy solutions, in line with societal needs and preferences. Furthermore, R&I activities will underpin the modernisation of the energy networks to support energy system integration, including the progressive electrification of demand side sectors (buildings, mobility, industry) and integration of other climate neutral, renewable energy carriers, such as clean hydrogen. Innovative energy storage solutions (including chemical, mechanical, electrical and thermal storage) are a key element of such energy system and R&I actions will advance their technological readiness for industrial-scale and domestic applications. Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) is a CO2 emission abatement option that holds great potential and R&I actions will accelerate the development of CCUS in electricity generation and industry applications.

This Destination contributes to the following Strategic Plan’s Key Strategic Orientations (KSO):

  • C: Making Europe the first digitally enabled circular, climate-neutral and sustainable economy through the transformation of its mobility, energy, construction and production systems;
  • A: Promoting an open strategic autonomy[[‘Open strategic autonomy’ refers to the term ‘strategic autonomy while preserving an open economy’, as reflected in the conclusions of the European Council 1 – 2 October 2020.]] by leading the development of key digital, enabling and emerging technologies, sectors and value chains to accelerate and steer the digital and green transitions through human-centred technologies and innovations;

It covers the following impact areas:

  • Industrial leadership in key and emerging technologies that work for people;
  • Affordable and clean energy.

The expected impact, in line with the Strategic Plan, is to contribute to “More efficient, clean, sustainable, secure and competitive energy supply through new solutions for smart grids and energy systems based on more performant renewable energy solutions”, notably through

  1. Fostering European global leadership in affordable, secure and sustainable renewable energy technologies and services by improving their competitiveness in global value chains and their position in growth markets, notably through the diversification of the renewable services and technology portfolio (more detailed information below).
  2. Ensuring cost-effective uninterrupted and affordable supply of energy to households and industries in a scenario of high penetration of variable renewables and other new low carbon energy supply. This includes more efficient approaches to managing smart and cyber-secure energy grids and optimisation the interaction between producers, consumers, networks, infrastructures and vectors (more detailed information below).
  3. Accelerating the development of Carbon Capture, Use and Storage (CCUS) as a CO2 emission mitigation option in electricity generation and industry applications (including also conversion of CO2 to products) (more detailed information below).

Fostering the European global leadership in affordable, secure and sustainable renewable energy technologies

Renewable energy technologies provide major opportunities to replace or substitute carbon from fossil origin in the power sector and in other economic sectors such as heating/cooling, transportation, agriculture and industry. Their large scale and decentralised deployment is expected to create more jobs than the fossil fuel equivalent. Renewable energy technologies are the baseline on which to build a sustainable European and global climate-neutral future. A strong global European leadership in renewable energy technologies, coupled with circularity and sustainability, will pave the way to increase energy security and reliability.

It is imperative to enhance affordability, security, sustainability and efficiency for more established renewable energy technologies (such as wind energy, photovoltaics or bioenergy), and to further diversify the technology portfolio. Furthermore, advanced renewable fuels, including synthetic and sustainable advanced biofuels, are also needed to provide long-term carbon-neutral solutions for the transport and energy-intensive industrial sectors, in particular for applications where direct electrification is not a technically and cost efficient option.

Synergies with activities in cluster 4 are possible for integrating renewable energy technologies and solutions in energy consuming industries. Complementarities with cluster 6 concern mainly biomass-related activities.

In line with the “do not harm” principle for the environment, actions for all renewable energy technologies aim to also improve the environmental sustainability of the technologies, delivering products with reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved environmental performance regarding water use, circularity, pollution and ecosystems. In particular, for biofuels and bioenergy improving the environmental sustainability is associated to the biomass conversion part of the value chain and the quality of the product, while air pollution associated to combustion in engines falls in the scope of other parts of the WP.

The main impacts to be generated by topics targeting the renewable energy technologies and solutions under this Destination are:

  1. Availability of disruptive renewable energy and renewable fuel technologies and systems in 2050 in order to accelerate the replacement of fossil-based energy technologies.
  2. Reduced cost and improved efficiency of renewable energy and renewable fuel technologies and their value chains.
  3. De-risking of renewable energy and fuel technologies with a view to their commercial exploitation and net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
  4. Better integration of renewable energy and renewable fuel-based solutions in energy consuming sectors.
  5. Reinforced European scientific basis and European export potential for renewable energy technologies through international collaboration (notably with Africa in renewable energy technologies and renewable fuels and enhanced collaboration with Mission Innovation countries).
  6. Enhanced sustainability of renewable energy and renewable fuels value chains, taking fully into account social, economic and environmental aspects in line with the European Green Deal priorities.
  7. More effective market uptake of renewable energy and fuel technologies.

Energy systems, grids and storage

Efficient and effective network management is the key to the integration of renewables in an efficient way that ensures cost-effectiveness and affordability, security of supply and grid stability. Real time monitoring and optimisation are necessary to increase the flexibility, through solutions such as storage, demand response or flexible generation among others, to integrate higher shares of variable renewable energy. Exploiting synergies between electricity, heating and cooling networks, gas networks, transport infrastructure and digital infrastructure will be crucial for enabling the smart, integrated, flexible, green and sustainable operation of the relevant infrastructures. Besides hydrogen and batteries (addressed elsewhere), R&I in other storage technologies, in particular thermal storage but also electrochemical, chemical, mechanical and electrical storage solutions is necessary to create a set of flexibility options.

Activities on energy systems, grids and storage under this Destination will primarily focus on the systemic aspects to enhance the flexibility and resilience of the system, in particular: integrated energy system planning and operation, engaging consumers and providing new services, electricity system reliability and resilience, storage development and integration and green digitalisation of the energy system.

Moreover, the role of citizens and communities is key when it comes to making the flexibility at appliance level available for the grid. Related to this, the inclusion of social sciences and humanities (SSH) where relevant is essential to build the social acceptance of new energy technologies and increase participation of consumers in energy markets.

All projects will contribute to an increased capacity of the system to integrate renewable energy sources and less curtailment at transmission and distribution level. The main expected impacts are:

  1. Increased resilience of the energy system based on improved and/or new technologies to control the system and maintain system stability under difficult circumstances.
  2. Increased flexibility and resilience of the energy system, based on technologies and tools to plan and operate different networks for different energy carriers simultaneously in a coordinated manner that will also contribute to climate neutrality of hard-to-electrify sectors.
  3. Enhance consumer satisfaction and increased system flexibility thanks to enabling consumers to benefit from data-driven energy services and facilitating their investment and engagement in the energy transition, through self-consumption, demand response or joint investments in renewables (either individually or through energy communities or micro-grids).
  4. Improved energy storage technologies, in particular heat storage but also others such as electrochemical, chemical, mechanical and electrical.
  5. Foster the European market for new energy services and business models as well as tested standardised and open interfaces of energy devices through a higher degree of interoperability, increased data availability and easier data exchange among energy companies as well as companies using energy system data.
  6. More effective and efficient solutions for transporting off-shore energy thanks to new electricity transmission technologies, in particular using superconducting technologies, power electronics and hybrid Alternate Current – Direct Current grid solutions as well as MT HVDC (Multi Terminal High Voltage Direct Current) solutions.

Carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS)

CCUS will play a crucial role in the EU Green Deal for the transition of energy-intensive industries and the power sector towards climate neutrality. Supporting R&I for CCUS will be particularly important in those industries where other alternatives do not yet exist like the cement industry. This will be highly relevant towards 2050, when most electricity will be coming from renewables, but the need to tackle the process emissions from industry will continue. If CCUS is combined with sustainable biomass, it could create negative emissions.

Low carbon hydrogen from natural gas with CCUS could also play a significant role in industrial climate neutrality, in the transition towards full use of hydrogen from renewable sources, in particular in industries such as steel making, chemicals, or refining where large quantities of hydrogen are needed. CCUS would enable early, clean hydrogen at scale. The hydrogen infrastructure built for clean hydrogen with CCUS could be also shared by hydrogen from renewable sources. It is thus important to develop CCUS for industrial clusters, including aspects of system planning, shared infrastructure solutions such as buffer storage, shared CO2 and hydrogen transportation and infrastructure optimisation for CCS and CCU.

Demonstration of the full CCUS chain is needed in the EU, with special emphasis on the reduction of the energy penalty and cost of capture and on ascertaining safe storage. Under the EU Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) ambitious R&I targets have been set in agreement with the sectorial stakeholders. The focus is on CO2 storage appraisal, cost-reductions, new technologies and proliferation of pilots and demonstrators.

Synergies with cluster 4 exist on the use of CO2.

The main impacts to be generated by topics targeting the renewable energy technologies and solutions under this Destination are:

  1. Accelerated rollout of infrastructure for CCUS hubs and clusters.
  2. Updated authoritative body of knowledge on connecting industrial CO2 sources with potential ‘bankable storage sites, providing greater confidence for decision makers and investors.
  3. Proven feasibility of integrating CO2 capture, CO2 storage and CO2 use in industrial facilities. Demonstrating these technologies at industrial scale shall pave the way for subsequent first-of-a-kind industrial projects.
  4. Reduced cost of the CCUS value chain, with CO2 capture being still the most relevant stumbling block for a wider application of CCUS.
  5. Adequate frameworks for Measurement, Monitoring and Verification (MMV) for storage projects, to document safe storage and for public acceptance of the technology.
Link Link to Programme
Clean Energy Transition
Description of call
" Clean Energy Transition"

Expected Outcome

The partnership is expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:
  • Increased directionality of clean energy transition research and innovation in Europe in line with the SET Plan by a shared pan-European vision regarding the goal and direction of the required system transformation processes adapted to regional needs and availability of renewable energy resources
  • Evidence based energy and climate policy formulation
  • A wider systemic transition and energy supply required for the climate transition in all sectors of society; enabling the transition of the built environment, transport, industry and other sectors to clean, low carbon energy;
  • An innovation ecosystem for Europe's transition to clean energy and contribute to a resource-efficient energy system, both from an ecological and economic standpoint;
  • A building block to a zero-emission energy system for the decarbonisation of transport, buildings, industry, agriculture in the specific European environment;
  • Increased engagement of consumers and prosumers and in appropriate demand-response mechanisms and its integration in the energy system;
  • And finally, an energy system that meets the needs of different parts of society, in different geographical locations (urban and rural) and different groups.


The European Green Deal aims to transform Europe into a fair and prosperous society with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy, with no net emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050. To decarbonise Europe, renewables must become the main energy source, while keeping the stability and resilience of the European energy system. Research and Innovation is needed to be able to achieve the Clean Energy Transition, while realizing also the ambitions of other EU policies like the New Circular Economy Strategy and the new Biodiversity Strategy and delivering on the objectives of the European Green Deal. It will also contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (in particular SDG 7 Affordable and Clean Energy and SDG 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure). At national level, policies and measures in clean energy research and innovation will support the achievement of the energy and climate targets, as outlined in the National Energy and Climate Plans.

The Clean Energy Transition Partnership (CETP) aims to empower the energy transition and contribute from a R&I perspective to the EU’s goal of becoming the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. To achieve this ambitious goal, Europe needs to embark into a transformative process of both the energy system and its supporting technologies, as well as of the society. Key enabling and disruptive technologies, as well system innovation are essential for this transition. With robust investment in innovation and technology development, the energy transition turns into an opportunity for sustainable growth and competitiveness, creating high-quality jobs and leaving nobody behind.

The Clean Energy Transition partnership is expected to contribute to the overarching goal of transitioning to a clean energy system by pooling national and regional resources/funding programmes thus overcoming a fragmented approach. In its Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda, the Clean Energy Transition Partnership will address the following areas: Development of clean and affordable energy production and conversion technologies; development of a climate neutral, flexible and robust energy system; storage and its integration in the energy system; resource and energy efficiency and circular flows in the energy sector for an ecologically sustainable energy system; a just and inclusive energy transition; sector integration and coupling; and digital transformation.

The partnerships actions are expected to contribute to:

  • a better cost performance by improving efficiency, sustainability, reliability and circularity of a broad portfolio of clean energy technologies and solutions;
  • the integration of a wide range of new energy solutions and ‘first of a kind’ technologies on all levels of the energy system to give flexibility, promote and efficiently manage self-generation and consumption profiles and new holistic solutions for energy storage (surplus energy, peak load supply, inter-seasonal storage);
  • the acceleration of the sustainable energy transition and societal development by the use of opportunities arising from the digital transformation and from data and information from the Copernicus programme, as well as the European Union’s Earth Observation programme.

The partner composition is expected to at least include a geographically representative distribution of national and regional research and innovation authorities and funding agencies from EU Member States, associated countries and their regions. The number of partners and their contribution should be enough to attain a critical mass in the field. The partnership should be open to the addition of new partners during the lifetime of the partnership. The partnership should pool the necessary financial resources from the participating national (or regional) research programmes with a view to implementing joint calls for transnational proposals resulting in grants to third parties and in accordance to the ambition of activities proposed.

The CETP will have to overcome the transnational challenges in the clean energy transition following the ambition of the European Green Deal via a joint, shared, transnational approach, engaging a wide variety of stakeholders including industry and research institutes.

The partnership has to provide a platform that makes research results available for the best use and implementation for all stakeholders and to support capacity building in areas requiring specific resources and expertise. By doing this, public and private investments in clean energy technologies development and deployment can be leveraged and capitalised to ensure adequate exploitation of results across Europe as needed.

Based on priorities identified in the Clean Energy Transition Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda, proposals should pool together the necessary financial resources from the participating national (or regional) research programmes with a view to implementing annual joint calls for proposals resulting in grants to third parties with EU co-funding. National efforts should reflect the ambitions outlined in the National Energy and Climate Plans, including on Member States/Associated Countries participation in the SET Plan work streams. Participation of legal entities from international partner countries and/or regions including those not automatically eligible for funding in accordance with General Annex A is encouraged in the joint calls.

The partnership should envisage clustering activities with other relevant selected projects for cross-projects co-operation, consultations and joint activities on cross-cutting issues. To this end, proposals should provide for a dedicated work package and/or task, and earmark the appropriate resources accordingly. The partnership should also present and implement a joint programme of activities focussed on communication (participation in joint meetings and communication events), dissemination and exploitation.

The partnership is expected to collaborate closely with the following European Partnerships:

  • Clean Hydrogen, Built Environment and construction, European industrial battery value Chain and Driving Urban Transition within the Cluster Climate, Energy and mobility;
  • Smart Networks and services, Clean Steel –Low carbon steelmaking, Carbon Neutral and Circular Industry and Geological Services for Europe within the Cluster Digital, Industry and Space;
  • Circular Bio-based Europe within the cluster Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment;
  • And the Climate-KIC and InnoEnergy EITs;

in order to ensure coherence and complementarity of activities. Applicants are expected to describe in their proposal the methodology for their collaboration and the aims they want to achieve with this kind of collaboration.

It is expected that the partnership will organise joint calls on an annual base from 2022 to 2027 and will consider ample time for the implementation of the co-funded projects.

The Commission envisages to include a new action in future work programme(s) to award a grant to identified beneficiaries with the aim of continuing to provide support to the partnership for the duration of Horizon Europe.

Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Research & Innovation, Technology Transfer & Exchange, Climate, Climate Change, Environment & Biodiversity, Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Green Technologies & Green Deal, Administration & Governance
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Eligible applicants Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, Public Services, National Government, Education and Training Centres, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, International Organization, Research Institution, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), NGO / NPO, Start Up Company, Other, University, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Association
Applicant details

eligible non-EU countries:

  • countries associated to Horizon Europe
At the date of the publication of the work programme, there are no countries associated to Horizon Europe. Considering the Union’s interest to retain, in principle, relations with the countries associated to Horizon 2020, most third countries associated to Horizon 2020 are expected to be associated to Horizon Europe with an intention to secure uninterrupted continuity between Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. In addition, other third countries can also become associated to Horizon Europe during the programme. For the purposes of the eligibility conditions, applicants established in Horizon 2020 Associated Countries or in other third countries negotiating association to Horizon Europe will be treated as entities established in an Associated Country, if the Horizon Europe association agreement with the third country concerned applies at the time of signature of the grant agreement.

  • low-and middle-income countries

Legal entities which are established in countries not listed above will be eligible for funding if provided for in the specific call conditions, or if their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority.

Specific cases:

  • Affiliated entities - Affiliated entities are eligible for funding if they are established in one of the countries listed above.
  • EU bodies - Legal entities created under EU law may also be eligible to receive funding, unless their basic act states otherwise.
  • International organisations - International European research organisations are eligible to receive funding. Unless their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority, other international organisations are not eligible to receive funding. International organisations with headquarters in a Member State or Associated Country are eligible to receive funding for ‘Training and mobility’actions and when provided for in the specific call conditions.
Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details

Unless otherwise provided for in the specific call conditions , legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes:

  • at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State;and
  • at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

The application form will have two parts:

  • Part A to be filled in directly online  (administrative information, summarised budget, call-specific questions, etc.)
  • Part B to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system

Page limit - Part B: 70 pages

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details
Expected EU contribution per projectThe Commission estimates that an EU contribution of around EUR 70.00 million would allow these outcomes to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of a proposal requesting different amounts.
Indicative budgetThe total indicative budget for the topic is EUR 70.00 million.
Typ of ActionProgramme Co-fund Action
Funding rateThe funding rate is up to 30% of the eligible costs. This funding rate applies both to members and non-members of the partnership, including non-profit legal entities.

The total indicative budget for this co-funded Partnership is EUR 210 million, committed in annual instalments over multiple year (EUR 35.00 million from the 2021 budget and EUR 35.00 million from the 2022 budget).

Beneficiaries may provide financial support to third parties.

Financial support provided by the participants to third parties is one of the primary activities of this action to allow the partnership to achieve its objectives. For Call topic HORIZON-CL5-2021-D3-01-04, as per Call topic conditions, the limit of EUR 60 000 for financial support provided by the participants to third parties does not apply. However, if this limit is exceeded for one or more third parties, the applicants should provide a justification in the proposal.

Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.

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