Intelligent Energy – Europe (IEE) offers a helping hand to organisations willing to improve energy sustainability. Launched in 2003 by the European Commission, the programme is part of a broad push to create an energy-intelligent future for us all. It supports EU energy efficiency and renewable energy policies, with a view to reaching the EU 2020 targets (20% cut in greenhouse gas emissions, 20% improvement in energy efficiency and 20% of renewables in EU energy consumption).

Intelligent Energy – Europe creates better conditions for a more sustainable energy future in areas as varied as renewable energy, energy-efficient buildings, industry, consumer products and transport.

The expectation is that by doing this, Europe will also boost its competitiveness, security of energy supply, and innovation standing for the years to come.

Running until 2013, the programme is open to all EU Member States, plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. A budget of € 730 million is available to fund projects and put into place a range of European portals, facilities and initiatives.

IEE FUNDING PROJECT: A large part of the programme budget is made available through annual calls for proposals to support projects putting the concept of ‘intelligent energy’ in practice. Carried out by public, private or non-governmental European organisations, they support three main objectives – more energy efficiency, more renewables, and better transport and mobility. This covers for instance new training schemes, promotion campaigns, or the transfer of good practices between EU countries.

Funding under the Intelligent Energy – Europe (IEE) programme is available for different types of actions furthering the EU’s efforts towards clean and sustainable energy.

Each annual call for proposal sets its own priority areas for funding.

THE MAIN FUNDING AREAS ARE: Energy efficiency and the rational use of energy (SAVE). Funding in this area mainly targets the improvement of energy efficiency and the rational use of resources in the industry, products and building sectors.

Examples of supported actions:
•    providing training on construction techniques allowing for energy savings;
•    increasing energy efficiency in outdoor lighting and transferring this knowledge within the EU.

NEW AND RENEWABLE SOURCES (ALTENER): In this area, funding is provided to increase the share of renewables in the production of electricity, heat and cooling, and to integrate them in the local energy systems.

Examples of supported actions:
•    tackling non-technological barriers to speed up the introduction of wind energy onto the EU’s energy market;
•    developing training schemes for installers of small-scale renewable energy systems.

ENERGY IN TRANSPORT (STEER): This strand covers initiatives targeting energy savings and energy efficiency in the transport sector, including stimulation of demand for alternative fuels and clean and energy-efficient vehicles.

Examples of supported actions:
•    promoting cycling for everyone as daily transport mode;
•    encouraging energy efficiency in urban logistics.

INTEGRATED INITIATIVES: These initiatives cover several economic sectors or several of the main areas of energy efficiency, new and renewable resources and energy in transport at the same time. Projects educating children, tomorrow’s energy savers and consumers, are covered by this part of the programme.

Examples of supported actions:
•    monitoring of policy practice in energy efficiency across different sectors;
•    raising awareness about renewable energy sources, rational use of energy and mobility through educational projects.

CRITERIA: When applying for IEE funding for your project, bear in mind the following basic criteria:

•    Any public or private organisation established in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Croatia or the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia can participate in a project proposal.
•    Proposals must involve in general at least three partners from different countries.
•    The proposal must prove the financial and technical capacity of the applicants to implement the project.
•    The proposal needs to take the overall objectives of the IEE programme and the priorities of that specific call into account and explain how these will be implemented.
•    High quality description of the activities to be carried out.
•    The project must have a wide and lasting impact on Europe’s energy situation. It needs to make a significant contribution to the implementation of the EU’s policy objectives regarding clean and secure energy.
•    Think about and explain the EU added-value of your project – what are the benefits of implementing the project on a EU level? The transnational dimension is crucial.
•    Well thought and planned allocation of resources.
•    ‘Hardware’ investments or research and development projects are not eligible for funding. If you are looking for funding for a project still in the research phase go to the EU’s Framework programme for research.