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Mixed views on Intelligent Energy programme in Horizon 2020

A public consultation on the European Commission's Intelligent Energy-Europe (IEE) programme has resulted in a variety of views on how the programme should continue in 2014-2020.

Launched in 2003, the IEE programme is part of the EU’s Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme. With about €730 million to spend between 2007 and 2013, IEE II funds projects promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy. At present the IEE is a separate fund, but it is expected to be included in Horizon 2020, the next EU research programme.

The Commission has proposed that the successor programme, IEE III, will continue under Horizon 2020’s societal challenge “secure, clean and efficient energy”. In a report released on 20 March, the Commission gives an overview of responses to a public consultation carried out last year to shape this policy change.

Participants suggested that the next programme should focus on the market uptake of energy innovation, technology developments such as hydrogen or energy storage, data collection on energy use, and online tools for energy management.

Other respondents, however, proposed that IEE should focus on demonstration projects by research organisations and large companies. And some respondents said it should make the link between research and market development at the national and regional level.

In addition, some participants in the consultation said programme management should be centralised across different EU programmes such as Horizon 2020, structural funds for regional development, Life+ and Cosme. They said that deadlines and procedures should be shared, and a supervisory board should keep the oversight across programmes.

The consultation results will feed into Horizon 2020 priority area for the market uptake of energy innovation, and into a future policy document on energy technologies and innovation, the Commission said.