The “Clean, Safe and Efficient Energy” programme is looking for transition to a more reliable, sustainable and competitive energy system. A conference organized by the Basque business development agency, SPRI Group, has provided Basque companies with data on the European aid programme.
The search for more sustainable and reliable energy is one of the commitments of the European Union up to 2020 and, for this purpose, it has launched an ambitious programme of aid for projects. It is the so-called “Safe, Clean and Efficient Energy’ Social Challenge, endowed with 5.9 billion euros up to 2020, and designed to support transition towards a more reliable, sustainable and competitive energy system. It is part of the Horizon 2020 macro-programme, the European strategy to boost research and innovation.
A conference organised last Friday in Bilbao by the Basque business development agency, SPRI Group, dependent on the Basque Government Department for Economic Development and Competitiveness, proved useful to provide information about the aid programme to the energy sector. Its priorities are energy efficiency, low carbon technologies and smart cities and communities.
Txetxu Saenz de Ormijana, director of the Studies and International Department of the Basque Energy Agency (Ente Vasco de la Energía – EVE), highlighted that the goal of the programme is “transition to a more reliable and sustainable energy programme”. He said the participation of 100 projects, involving a total of 78 million euros, was expected, “which means twice as many as in the previous programme.
Maria Luis Revilla, of the CDTI (Centre for Industrial Technological Development, dependent on the Spanish Ministry of Economy), explained the details of the European “Clean, Safe and Efficient Energy” programme and pointed out that the endowment has doubled, as aid in the previous programme amounted to 2.7 billion. Revilla explained that 105 million euros was to be allocated to energy efficiency this year and the call for proposals closes on 4 June. “We want to promote the use of ICTs in public buildings. We have to try to demonstrate the savings achieved in projects, by the use of ICTs, to reduce the carbon footprint “, she stated and revealed that the European Commission wants “more specificity than generality” in projects.
As regards low carbon technologies, the call for proposals this year expires on 5 May and there is a fund of 80 million euros.. “They are large projects, for 5 to 20 million euros, and their health and environmental aspects are very important, because they are technologies that have to reach the market”. For smart cities the endowment is 107 million euros. “These are innovative projects, for 18 to 25 million euros, which can be applied in different cities. The Commission asks for them to be implemented in three large cities. It also request consortia including municipal councils and technology centres, backed by an ambitious urban plan”.
Arturo Antón, of SPRI, explained the work of the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), which is one of the key support instruments for European SMEs, as this body promotes the competitiveness of European firms through their internationalisation, technology transfer and access to funding. In short, the opening for new businesses and wealth. Since 2008, Basque companies have successfully signed 33 technology transfer agreements through EEN.
EEN groups together almost 600 organisations throughout Europe. SPRI is one of these and also the coordinator of the Basque EEN Consortium, which also includes the Chambers of Commerce of Bilbao, Gipuzkoa and Álava, Innobasque and Beaz.