Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Enabling next-generation of smart energy services valorising energy efficiency and flexibility at demand-side as energy resource

Topic identifier: LC-SC3-EE-13-2018-2019-2020
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future (LC)

Types of action: IA Innovation action
Planned opening date:
12 March 2019
Deadline: 03 September 2019 17:00:00

Types of action: CSA Coordination and support action
Planned opening date:
25 January 2018
Deadline: 13 September 2018 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Work Programme Part: Secure, clean and efficient energy
Topic Updates
  • 01 March 2018 12:48

     IMPORTANT - Page limits applicable to proposals

    Applicants are allowed to remove the page break in the cover page of the template for the technical annex, i.e. the proposal text can start on the cover page.

  • 16 February 2018 14:16

    The Frequently Asked Questions for topic LC-SC3-EE-13-2018-2019-2020 can be accessed here.

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Energy Efficiency services (e.g. Energy Performance Contracting (EPC)) are available on the market already for quite some time. However, there is a big untapped potential in sectors and with actors not yet engaged in services triggering energy, CO2 and cost savings. At the same time, new technologies have emerged opening the door for new types of services which use ICT to better control and steer energy consumption according to market and system needs and to the availability of renewable energy; others are able to integrate energy services with non-energy benefits such as comfort. By bundling various services and benefits, additional target groups, sectors and financial resources can be accessed. Actions are also needed to structure and label the quality of demand side service providers (like ESCOs aggregators and energy cooperatives) and improve their accessibility for end energy users.

Finally, ICT-tools and big data generated by smart meters, smart devices and sensors will help monitor and verify energy savings and flexibility and thus provide for appropriate remuneration of optimised consumption. A particular challenge for energy services of this kind is that while they aim to involve different services (e.g. system services) and benefits (e.g. comfort) towards increasing their viability, they should nevertheless result in real, measurable energy savings and performance improvements of the overall energy system.


2018 (Coordination and support action):

Actions should allow different market actors to get together and focus on developing integrated concepts and models which

  • enhance and refine successful energy performance contracting models and/or;
  • include pay-for-performance schemes and/or;
  • include customer individualized energy services as a result of better understanding of customer behaviour and needs derived of new data analytics tools;
  • engage new sectors and actors and/or;
  • integrate energy efficiency services with other energy services like distributed generation and demand response and including storage/hybrid energy systems and/or non-energy related services; these should be endorsed by relevant stakeholders and validated (for example tested around existing projects or projects under development);
  • factor in potential legal and contractual aspects (e.g. in relation to existing contracts or warranty, safety and data security issues linked to existing and newly deployed equipment).

Proposed actions should cover at least two (but not necessarily all) of the relevant areas and aspects identified below:

  • Energy service models (like EPC) and services that target new sectors and new actors;
  • Business models which work equally for energy efficiency and other services, building on contractual arrangements across different actors (ESCOs, aggregators, DSOs, energy cooperatives, obliged parties under the Energy Efficiency Obligation Schemes implementing art 7 EED and eventually the consumers) which traditionally cover different use cases business interests and different revenue;
  • "Pay for performance"-schemes which focus on permanently reducing power consumption in particular at peak times, thus attracting new sources of financing;
  • The use of 'big data' generated by smart meters, equipment, sensors and tools for standardised processes enabling a more accurate and dynamic measurement and verification of energy savings and flexible consumption, also in order to ex-ante identify and develop business opportunities;
  • Additional non-energy features that support the up-take of innovative energy efficiency services and technologies;
  • Improving the accessibility and quality of demand side service providers while enhancing their access to the market.

Proposals are expected to include clear business model development and a clear path to finance and deployment. Key partners should have the capability and interest in making the developed solution a core part of their business/service model to their clients.

The Commission considers that proposals for Coordination and Support Actions requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1 million and 2 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

2019 (Innovation action):

Projects should focus on demonstrating and testing innovative energy services in a real environment, across several market segments and across different actors in the value chain. To be economically viable, these services need to be able to rely on sound measurement and verification methodologies. They should cover several but not necessarily all of the relevant areas and aspects identified above, blending in innovative manner different revenue streams coming from different market segments and they should in all cases include innovative verification and monitoring measures. Moreover, they should demonstrate how potential legal and contractual aspects (e.g. in relation to existing contracts or linked to the use of equipment) have been accounted for.

Proposals should demonstrate that the tested business models and services are self-sustainable after the end of the project. The upfront investments in energy efficiency measures (e.g. upgrading of building energy performance) and in smart building systems should be paid back at least in part by revenues coming from energy savings and remunerated flexibility.

The Commission considers that proposals for Innovation Actions requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 3 and 4 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Where possible and appropriate, the actions should cooperate with the projects funded under the topics: DT-ICT-10-2018: Interoperable and smart homes and grids, DT-ICT-11-2019: Big data solutions for energy in the WP 5.i ICT, and LC-SC3-ES-6-2018-2020: LC-SC3-ES-5-2018-2020: TSO – DSO – Consumer: Large-scale demonstrations of innovative grid services through demand response, storage and small-scale (RES) generation.

Expected Impact:

Proposals are expected to demonstrate the impacts listed below, using quantified indicators and targets wherever possible:

  • Primary Energy savings triggered by the project (in GWh/year);
  • Investments in sustainable energy triggered by the project (in million Euro);
  • Improved viability of innovative energy services.

In addition, proposals are expected to demonstrate, the impacts listed below, using quantified indicators and targets wherever possible:

  • A growing offer and up-take of services that combine energy efficiency with other energy services, technologies and non-energy benefits;
  • A growing up-take of innovative data gathering and processing methods in the monitoring and verification of energy savings and flexibility;
  • The application of methods and concepts to ensure that: (i) innovative energy services are reliable and verifiable, (ii) service providers are trustworthy and accessible.

Additional positive effects can be quantified and reported when relevant and wherever possible:

  • Reduction of the greenhouse gases emissions (in tCO2-eq/year) and/or air pollutants (in kg/year) triggered by the project.
Delegation Exception Footnote:

It is expected that this topic will continue in 2020.

Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the Work Programme.
A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects. See the information in the Online Manual.


2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in Annex B and Annex C of the Work Programme.  

Taking into account the nature of the activity and with the objective to maximize the European Added Value and European market uptake through transnational collaboration[[Transition towards Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy and the Energy Union project are cross-national policy initiatives and priorities aiming at trans-national solutions.]], the following additional eligibility criteria apply for Coordination and Support Actions (CSA):

  1. at least three legal entities shall participate in an action;
  2. each of the three legal entities shall be established in a different Member State or Associated Country

all three legal entities shall be independent of each other within the meaning of Article 8 of the Rules for Participation.

Proposal page limits and layout: please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission system below.


3. Evaluation:

  • Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex H of the Work Programme. 
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in the Online Manual.

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

Information on the outcome of evaluation (single-stage call): maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission. 

5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

Innovation Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Standard proposal template
Standard evaluation form
General MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement

Coordination and Support Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Standard proposal template
Standard evaluation form
General MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement

6. Additional provisions:

Horizon 2020 budget flexibility
Classified information
Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply

Members of consortium are required to conclude a consortium agreement, in principle prior to the signature of the grant agreement.

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20
10. Secure, clean and efficient energy WP 2018-20
12. Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials WP 2018-20
18. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation WP 2018-20

General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

Open access to research data
The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in Annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs. See the Online Manual.

Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.


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