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Shaping Europe’s digital future

EU programmes to support the digital transformation of the energy system

EU programmes supporting research and innovation, deployment, and cross-border connectivity infrastructure are crucial to the digitalisation of the energy system.

The European Commission is contributing to accelerating the digitalisation of the energy system by providing support for research and innovation, deployment, and cross-border connectivity infrastructure via its different programmes.

EU funding programmes to support the research (Horizon Europe), deployment (DIGITAL) and infrastructure (CEF2) of the energy system.

EU programmes to support the digital transformation of the energy system. Credit: European Commission

1. The Horizon 2020 programme

Through Horizon 2020, around €1 billion of EU support was allocated to research and innovation (R&I) projects in the areas of smart grids, energy storage, energy islands, and the digitalisation of energy.

Launched in 2015, the BRIDGE initiative brings together on a voluntary basis many of these R&I projects to create a structured view of cross-cutting issues encountered in the demonstration projects. It aims to foster knowledge sharing among projects as well as enable dialogue between innovation and market regulation through different Working Groups. The goal is to increase the impact that projects make in real-world settings to speed up the green and digital transformation of the energy system.

BRIDGE is a cooperation group of smart grid, energy storage, islands and digitalisation projects. It creates a view of cross-cutting issues encountered in 64 demonstration projects, fosters knowledge sharing among the projects, allowing them to deliver conclusions about future exploitation of results, and provides field experience, feedback & lessons learned from projects to help overcome barriers to innovation.

Credit: European Commission, Bridge


Below is information on several of these projects, which have a dominant digital component. The largest of the Horizon 2020 energy projects is InterConnect, launched in October 2019 and receiving almost €30 million in EU funding to develop and demonstrate advanced solutions for connecting and converging digital homes and buildings with the electricity system.

 InterConnect provides interopeable solutions connecting smart homes, buildings & grids. It demonstrates an effective digital market for ensuring energy efficiency at reduced costs, gathers 50 entities to develop advanced solutions for connecting & converging digital homes & buildings with the electricity sector, and contributes to the democratisation of energy management through an interoperable ecosystem where demand-side flexibility can be integrated to benefit the end-user.

Credit: European Commission, InterConnect


OneNet “One network for Europe” provides seamless integration of all actors across the European electricity network to optimize the energy system & create an open & fair market structure.

OneNet “One network for Europe” provides seamless integration of all actors across the European electricity network to optimize the energy system & create an open & fair market structure.

Credit: European Commission, OneNet


Seamless energy integration with Interrface project.

Seamless energy integration with Interrface project. It has a TSO-DSO-consumer interface architecture to provide innovative grid services for an efficient power system, demonstrates the added value of sharing data among all participants in the electricity system value chain from local to EU level, and provides services for congestion management & local flexibility in the network, supporting the integration of new & existing distributed generation projects.

Credit: European Commission, Interrface


Coordinet procures energy more efficiently through greater consumer participation.

The Coordinet project led large-scale campaigns to demonstrate how both transmission & distribution system operators coordinate to procure grid services in a reliable way. It establishes different collaboration system operators & consumers to contribute to developing a smart, secure & resilient energy system, and develops new mechanisms for real-time operations to define requirements for developing standard European platforms.

Credit: European Commission, CoordiNET


BD4NRG “big data for next-generation energy” develops a reference architecture for smart energy to align architectures with an interoperable AI-driven big data analytics framework.

The BD4NRG project establishes new market opportunities in the energy sector by unlocking the potential of big data to enable improved operations for all stakeholders in the value chain, and enables cross-stakeholder data-driven services & interoperability of leading edge big data technologies with smart grid standards & operational frameworks.

Credit: European Commission, BD4NRG


Platoon “digital platform and analytic tools for energy” is an interoperable reference platform to deal with heterogenous data sources, formats, interfaces & enable data exchange between platforms.

The Platoon project has flexible capabilities in data governance & security to answer the digital sovereignty challenges of data owners & providers, and uses a data analytics toolbox & edge computing for data processing & real-time analysis.

Credit: European Commission, Platoon


BD4Opem stands for “big data for open innovation energy marketplace”.

BD4Opem “big data for open innovation energy marketplace” develops an analytic toolbox based on big data techniques, providing instruments to enable efficient business processes in the energy sector. It integrates AI solutions, products & services to improve the monitoring, operation maintenance & planning of electrical distribution grids made available to stakeholders, and creates an “energy supermarket” where users find the solutions they need in using the services provides by different specialised companies.

Credit: European Commission, BD4Opem


Platone is a platform for operation of distribution networks.

Platone, the platform for operation of distribution networks, is a low-cost IoT solution for predictive maintenance of small electric motors towards the factories of the future. It develops a blockchain-based multilayer set of platforms to meeting the needs of system operators, aggregators & end users, and links to edge structure with the distribution system operator for flexibility marketing & grid management, creating a synergy in data acquisition.

Credit: European Commission, Platone


Synergy is the big energy data platform and AI marketplace for new viable solutions.

Synergy creates big energy data value within synergetic energy-as-a-service applications through trusted multi-party data sharing over an AI big data analytics marketplace, introduces a novel framework & reference big data architecture that leverages data, primary/secondarily related to the electricity domain, and helps electricity value-chain stakeholders to enhance their data reach, improve internal intelligence & optimise operations & benefits.

Credit: European Commission, Synergy


Meanwhile, the coordination and support action (CSA) Open DEI ensures a continuous link between the relevant EU-funded projects results and the European Commission’s policy priorities.

Coordination & support action Open DEI on the digital transformation of European industry. It aligns reference architectures, open platforms & pilots in digitalising the European energy sector, evaluates, analyses & proposes reference platforms that constitute the bases of integrated energy systems, and unlocks smart technologies & services to ensure secure, reliable, resilient & cost-efficient energy solutions.

Credit: European Commission, Open DEI


Following a similar approach to the BRIDGE initiative, a group of data centre projects joined the so called Green Data Centres cluster, working together towards finding solutions to increase renewable energy use, to reuse wasted heat and to integrate with smart grids.

The cooperation group of green data centre and follow-up projects created a catalogue of existing data centre energy & environmental efficiency metric & methodologies, contributing to their standardisation. The projects were dealing with data centres in individual & cluster configurations aiming to achieve over 80% powering with renewables, integration with the smart grid & heat reuse. The group piloted market-ready solutions, provided tools & prepared the public procurement of green data centres.

Credit: European Commission

Eco-Qube: AI augmented cooling system for edge data centres.  Catalyst: data centre energy optimisation based on marketplaces for trading electricity, heat & demand flexibility. BodenTypeDC: highly efficient modular data centre facility with holistic cooling control & re-utilisation of residual excess heat.

Credit: European Commission, Eco-Qube, Catalyst, BodenTypeDC


2. Boosting research and innovation under Horizon Europe

The EU flagship programme for R&I aims to set the best minds in Europe and beyond to work on delivering excellent solutions to the key issues of our time, including the contribution to a more efficient, clean, sustainable, secure, and competitive energy supply through new solutions for smart grids and energy systems, based on more performant renewable energy solutions and state-of-the art digital technologies.

With the first Horizon Europe Work Programme on Climate, Energy and Mobility the Commission aims to pave the way for the creation of a common European energy data space, as well as to support a community of practices that includes interoperability expertise relevant to the energy transition.

3. Co-funding deployment under DIGITAL

The Digital Europe Programme (DIGITAL) is designed to bridge the gap between digital technology research and market deployment. It will benefit Europe’s citizens and businesses, in particular SMEs. Investment under DIGITAL supports the EU’s twin objectives of a green and digital transformation while strengthening its resilience and digital sovereignty.

Relevant actions in support of the digitalisation of energy include the deployment of the energy data space, as well as the AI Testing and Experimentation Facilities and Digital Innovation Hubs.

4. Strengthening cross-border connectivity under CEF Digital

The Connecting Europe Facility – Digital (CEF2) programme aims to stimulate digital infrastructure investments in Member States during the period of 2021-2027, with the objective of supporting them in meeting the objectives of the Gigabit Society Strategy. The programme aims to support projects which ensure synergies between digital, transport and/or energy. Relevant actions include the deployment of Operational Digital Platforms. One project in the area of energy could be a platform for cross-border data exchange on availability of renewable energy and integration of data centres.


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