European Union

Highlights in 2017
Highlights in 2017


New clean energy innovation policies and/or strategies

The implementation of the Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation (ACEI) strategy is ongoing, and a report was produced taking stock of progress in each of the 20 actions. Significant progress was achieved in a number of actions, in particular:

  • the EU funding for clean energy research and innovation and its top-up with private investment has continued to increase;
  • the European Investment Bank will from now on reserve at least 40% of financing under the infrastructure and innovation window of the European Fund for Strategic Investment for projects that contribute to the EU’s climate and energy commitments;
  • a more systematic process for dissemination and exploitation of EU funded projects in clean energy research and innovation has been developed, aiming to bring the most promising results to the attention of investors;
  • an Africa-EU Research and Innovation Partnership on Climate Change and Sustainable Energy has been endorsed at the Africa-EU Summit in November 2017.

The European Commission has adopted a set of measures to drive innovation in Europe in the sectors of mobility and transport. In particular, new targets for the EU fleet-wide average CO2 emissions of new passenger cars and vans have been set to help accelerate the transition to low-and zero emissions vehicles. In this context, an EU Battery Alliance has been created in order to mobilise the European industry towards electro-mobility, providing an increased investment in the EU research and innovation for energy storage and batteries in particular. In addition, the European Strategic Transport Research and Innovation Agenda (STRIA)was adopted, presenting an integrated approach to the decarbonisation and digitalisation of transport. With STRIA and the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan), the two dimensions of the Energy Union research and innovation priorities, transport and energy, are now fully covered.

Top clean energy innovation successes in 2017

  1. The 2018-2020 work programmefor Horizon 2020 was published with more than EUR 2 billion dedicated to four priority areas to accelerate clean energy innovation:
    • Decarbonizing the EU building stock by 2050: from nearly-zero energy buildings to energy-plus districts – EUR 479,5 million
    • Strengthening EU leadership on renewables (RES) – EUR 784 million
    • Developing affordable and integrated energy storage solutions – EUR 389,5 million
    • Electro-mobility and a more integrated urban transport system – EUR 355 million
  1. Three new inducement prizes related to clean-energy innovation were launched:
  1. The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan)has also seen important developments since the launch of Mission Innovation. Eight implementation plans to coordinate research among European countries were endorsed with the goal of boosting European competitiveness in the Energy Union priority areas of concentrated solar power, deep geothermal, energy efficiency in industry, photovoltaics, storage, ocean energy, resilience and security of energy systems, and carbon capture storage and use. The associated investment forecast for the execution of these plans amounts to around EUR 18 billion.

Top activities delivered in support of the Innovation Challenges in 2017

The EC has stepped up its support to Innovation Challenges through the following actions:

  1. The 2018-2020 work-programmefor Horizon 2020 was published with around EUR 300 million allocated to calls related to all Mission Innovation Challenges.
  2. Two new calls were introduced in the EC’s Framework Research Programme (Horizon 2020) with the specific objective of supporting the implementation of Innovation Challenges 5 and 2 of Mission Innovation. These two calls, both open to international cooperation, are:
    • Converting Sunlight to storable chemical energy (LC-SC3-RES-29-2019 – budget: EUR 5 Million)
    • Demonstration of plug and play solutions for renewable off-grid electricity (LC-SC3-RES-30-2019 – budget: EUR 10 Million)

    In addition, an inducement prize was launched to specifically support the implementation of Innovation Challenge “Converting Sunlight into Storable solar Fuels” Fuel from the Sun: Artificial Photosynthesis(Prize: EUR 5 million).

  3. A workshop was co-organised by the EC and the MI Secretariat on tracking progress for MI, where key performance indicators for innovation challenges were also discussed.


BECOOL: Brazil-EU Cooperation for Development of Advanced Lignocellulosic Biofuels
Countries: Brazil
Type of collaboration: open to both public and private sector
Start date: 2017
End date: 2021
Funding amount: €10 million (each party contributing €5 million)

The BECOOL project is a complementary effort of a European consortium with a corresponding consortium from Brazil (BioVALUE). The main objective of these projects is to strengthen EU-Brazil cooperation on advanced lignocellulosic biofuels. Information alignment, knowledge synchronization, and synergistic activities on lignocellulosic biomass production logistics and conversion technologies are key targets of both projects. Both projects are structured in 3 main pillars covering in a balanced way the whole range of activities of the biofuels value chain (biomass production, logistics, conversion and exploitation.

Additional information:

GEMex: Cooperation in Geothermal energy research Europe-Mexico for development of Enhanced Geothermal Systems and Superhot Geothermal Systems
Countries: Mexico
Type of collaboration: open to both public and private sector
Start date: 2016
End date: 2019
Funding amount: €20 million (each party contributing €10 million)

The GEMex project is a complementary effort of a European consortium with a corresponding consortium from Mexico. The joint effort is based on three pillars: 1) Resource assessment at two unconventional geothermal sites; 2) Reservoir characterization using techniques and approaches developed at conventional geothermal sites; 3) Concepts for Site Development

Additional information: