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Supporting the clean energy transition of European businesses
LIFE - sub-programme “Clean Energy Transition”
Estimated EU contribution per project
Link to the call
Link to the submission
The overall objective of this topic is to support the clean energy transition and decarbonisation of businesses by strengthening national and regional ecosystems for energy management systems and energy audits and by fostering collaborative approaches between companies. Synergies with relevant EU projects and initiatives such as the Covenant of Companies for Climate and Energy (CCCE) and/or the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) are encouraged.
Engaging businesses in the clean energy transition and reducing their domestic footprint is central for the European Green Deal and to deliver on the Fit-for-55 package and the REPowerEU Plan to phase-out EU dependence on Russian fossil fuels imports. It is also important for the Green Deal Industrial Plan and the overall competitiveness of EU enterprises. Energy policy instruments such as the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) and the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) recognise the role that businesses, especially small and medium-sized, can have at local and national level in accelerating the transition.
As highlighted in the Green Deal Industrial Plan, the achievement of climate-neutrality by 2050 will require a full mobilisation and deeper cooperation among all players operating across the different value chains of Europe’s net-zero industry. Exposure to energy prices, increased global competition as well as potential transition risks linked to changing regulation, market demand and buyers/suppliers procurement criteria are increasing pressure on EU companies. New business models and financial schemes are needed to be able to adapt in the current energy crisis and take the decision to invest in an energy efficiency or renewable energy project.
The REPowerEU Plan strengthens the need to act fast. Energy management systems and energy audits are instruments that the European Commission is encouraging Member States to roll out in the framework of the EU Save Energy Communication and the recast Energy Efficiency Directive. In fact, recommendations of high-quality energy audits, already performed but not implemented or to be performed in the future, can on one side generate savings and reduction of energy demand in the short period, and on the other contribute to the competitiveness of the EU economy by optimising energy use for industrial, manufacturing and commercial purposes. Energy audits recommendations can also increase the self-generation and self-consumption of renewable energy e.g. with solar panels and heat pumps, amongst companies. Enabling factors such as geographical proximity and value chain relations can also make businesses decide to make investments in energy efficiency or renewable energy and engage in energy related collaborations.
Expected effects and impacts
Proposals should present the concrete results which will be delivered by the activities, and demonstrate how these results will contribute to the topic-specific impacts. This demonstration should include a detailed analysis of the starting point and a set of well-substantiated assumptions, and establish clear causality links between the results and the expected impacts.
Proposals submitted under this topic should demonstrate how they will contribute to, depending on the scope:
- Improved quality of energy audits.
- Harmonisation of energy audit frameworks and replication of best practices across participating countries.
- Improved uptake of the recommendations of energy audits.
- Implementation of EU legislation (in particular Energy Efficiency Directive and Renewable Energy Directive) addressing the business sector.
- Viable business models for energy cooperation between companies ready to be rolled out on the market.
- Deployment of energy related infrastructure, energy services, and/or energy exchanges contributing to the clean energy transition of businesses.
Proposals should quantify their results and impacts using the indicators provided for the topic, when they are relevant for the proposed activities. They should also propose indicators which are specific to the proposed activities. Proposals are not expected to address all the listed impacts and indicators. The results and impacts should be quantified for the end of the project and for 5 years after the end of the project.
The indicators for this topic include:
- Number of companies benefitting from direct support.
- Implementation rate of energy audit recommendations resulting from the proposed activities.
- Number of energy auditors using improved energy audit methodologies.
- Number of national/regional ecosystems supported for energy management systems and energy audits.
- Number of companies implementing energy cooperation approaches.
- Number of relevant stakeholders approached and trained on energy cooperation approaches between companies.
Proposals should also quantify their impacts related to the following common indicators for the LIFE Clean Energy Transition subprogramme:
- Investments in sustainable energy (energy efficiency and renewables) triggered by the project (cumulative, in million Euro).
- Primary energy savings triggered by the project (in GWh/year).
- Renewable energy generation triggered by the project (in GWh/year).
- Reduction of greenhouse gases emissions (in tCO2-eq/year).
Proposals are expected to focus on one of the two scopes below. The scope addressed should be specified in the proposal's introduction. In case a proposal addresses elements of more than one scope, this should be justified.
Scope A: Strengthening a favourable ecosystem for energy audits and energy management systems
Proposals under this scope should support the participating countries in strengthening their ecosystem for energy audits and energy management systems, thereby ensuring high-quality energy audits and increasing the implementation of cost-effective measures, especially by small and medium-sized energy-intensive businesses.
Applicants should primarily address the quality of energy audits, by taking into account the following elements: measures that could encourage a higher uptake of energy audit recommendations by companies, application of international and European standards in energy audits, use of Life-Cycle Cost Analysis versus simple payback periods, content and structure of the audit report including a concrete and feasible Action Plan for the recommended measures, valorisation and quantification of non-energy benefits, follow-up systems for checks on the implementation of measures and data management. Proposals should also explore the potentials of energy management systems based on performance improvement as well as measures for the cost-effective use or production of renewable energy in businesses. Activities can be developed as support to relevant national /regional authorities and/or as services to companies.
In addition to the above, proposals could address barriers at national/regional level that hinder the implementation of energy efficiency projects and the increase of renewable energy in businesses, for example administrative (permitting, support schemes, etc), financial (access to finance, risk) or informative (knowledge gap, skills, etc). Information campaigns, obligations linked with performance incentives, fiscal and financial instruments that increase access to finance and embed risk reduction options, mechanisms such as energy audit centres for SMEs, energy efficiency roadmaps and energy efficiency networks for SMEs are relevant tools whose best practices can be shared and replicated by the participating countries. Consultation and engagement activities should be foreseen with the relevant stakeholders, for example national/local energy agencies, managing authorities, industry associations and financial institutions.
Finally, where relevant and instrumental to facilitate the uptake of energy audits recommendations and subsequent measures by businesses, proposals could address the enhancement of corporate energy culture.
Scope B: Fostering energy cooperation among companies
Proposals under this scope should foster the market uptake of energy efficiency measures and the use of renewable energy (and heat pumps where relevant), through the establishment of collaborative approaches among companies. Applicants can focus on developing collaborative approaches, namely between large and small companies operating in the same value chain, or on energy cooperation among companies in proximity (region, cluster, industrial park/site).
Energy cooperation and collaborative approaches refers to, for example, companies working in the same value chain and holding business relations. The value chains addressed can operate at any level (from local to European, and international when relevant). It can also refer to companies in proximity (region, cluster, industrial park/site) sharing energy related assets (e.g. renewable energy generation, energy networks, energy storage), sharing energy services, implementing energy exchanges (e.g. recovery and use of waste heat from industrial and manufacturing processes) or being involved in energy communities. Clustering of companies can also facilitate better access to finance, ESCO contracts and power purchase agreements (e.g. aggregators).
Proposals are expected to carry out activities aiming at triggering interest, awareness, knowledge and know-how (e.g. through the organisation of roundtables at sector or territorial level) on the multiple benefits achievable from collaborative approaches. Some examples of these benefits are operating costs reduction, mitigation of energy-related risks, easier access to finance or stronger value proposition. Proposals should also work on removing barriers that hinder energy cooperation, e.g. organisational (coordination, trust, responsibilities, data management, risk sharing), legal or social.
Furthermore, proposals should facilitate the establishment of concrete cooperation initiatives, including but not limited to identifying, investigating and validating economically viable business models (based on concrete interaction with participating companies), proving the relevance of a collaborative approach in terms of value creation for each involved actor (e.g. buyers/suppliers/final users) as well as in addressing the untapped potential of energy efficiency and renewables at each step of the process (e.g. upstream to downstream in the case of value chains).
The proposed activities should be focused on engaging businesses in energy cooperation activities; the involvement of additional relevant stakeholders (e.g. industrial organisations, multipliers, financial players, ESCOs, public authorities) should be envisaged to ensure the success and the sustainability of the developed collaborative approach.
The proposed approaches should demonstrate a high degree of replicability and proposals should include a clear action plan to communicate experiences, critical success factors and results towards relevant energy cooperation actors and stakeholders across the EU.
Additionally, benchmarking and monitoring mechanisms, focusing on the energy use at value chain, or at cluster or industrial park/site level, could be developed to support the formulation of policy/regulatory recommendations aiming at speeding up the clean energy transition of the business sector towards the EU’s 2030 and 2050 climate and energy objectives.
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Island (Ísland), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Ukraine (Україна)
Education and training institution, International organization, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
Proposals must be submitted by:
- minimum 3 applicants (beneficiaries; not affiliated entities) from 3 different eligible countries.
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 (associated countries) or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature (list of participating countries)
- the coordinator must be established in an eligible country
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.
EU bodies — EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.
Financial support to third parties is not allowed.
Relevance for EU Macro-Region
EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System (accessible via the Topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section. Paper submissions are NOT possible.
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 including previous projects, if any (mandatory template available in the Submission System)
- Optional annexes:
- letters of support
Proposals are limited to maximum 65 pages (Part B).