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Shaping Europe’s digital future

EU at the forefront of the digital and green transformation of the energy system

The EU leads the energy sector's digital and green transformation through key initiatives on research, innovation, and cross-border infrastructure, essential for digital integration.

The European Union is at the forefront of advancing the digital and green transformation of the energy sector through various funding programmes supporting research and innovation, implementation, and the enhancement of cross-border infrastructure. These initiatives are pivotal for integrating digital advancements into the energy sector.

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

Figure 1: EU programmes to support the digital transformation of the energy system. © European Commission


Bridging the gap between digital technology research and market deployment under DIGITAL

The Digital Europe Programme (DIGITAL) aims to bridge the gap between digital technology research and market deployment, with a focus on benefiting Europe's citizens and businesses, particularly SMEs. Investment under DIGITAL aligns with the EU's twin objectives of promoting a green and digital transformation while strengthening its resilience and digital sovereignty.

In support of the digitalisation of energy, DIGITAL includes several relevant actions. These include the implementation of a Common Reference Framework for energy savings applicationsthe deployment of the energy data space, and the establishment of AI Testing and Experimentation Facilities and Digital Innovation Hubs. These actions will contribute to the development of a more efficient, sustainable, and secure energy system, while also empowering businesses to adopt innovative digital solutions.


Investing in digital infrastructure with Connecting Europe Facility

The Connecting Europe Facility – Digital (CEF2) programme aims to encourage digital infrastructure investments in Member States between 2021 and 2027, with the objective of helping them achieve the goals outlined in the Gigabit Society Strategy. Among other goals, the programme seeks to support projects that promote synergies between digital, transport, and energy. One relevant initiative is the deployment of  Operational Digital Platforms, currently under preparation by the Coordination and Support Action BEGONIA.

The respective project will identify and prepare the most relevant and impactful use case for deployment in a subsequent deployment project. An example of a potential energy-related project would be the creation of a platform for cross-border data exchange on renewable energy availability and data centre integration.


Boosting research and innovation under Horizon Europe

The EU's commitment to supporting research and innovation (R&I) in the areas of smart grids, energy storage, energy islands, and the digitalisation of energy is evident in the significant funding allocations made under Horizon Europe, building on prior investments under Horizon 2020.

Given its strategic importance, the Horizon Europe 2023-24 Work Programme.pdf maintains support for the digitalisation of the energy system. Initiatives like the TwinEU project, which aims to develop a digital twin of the EU electricity system, alongside the ODEON and HEDGE-IoT projects, will focus on developing and piloting AI-IoT Edge-cloud and platform solutions. These efforts are crucial to support the green and digital transformation of the energy ecosystem.

With its first Horizon Europe Work Programme on Climate.pdf, Energy, and Mobility the Commission supports among others, five Innovation Action projects (DATA CELLAR; EDDIEEnershare; Omega-X; SYNERGIES) and one Coordination and Support Action (Int:net). These initiatives are focused on developing, validating, and demonstrating solutions for a Common European Energy Data Space that enables access to and use of energy-related data.

The majority of these R&I projects actively contribute to the BRIDGE initiative, thereby enhancing knowledge sharing, fostering innovation, and promoting the use of cutting-edge technologies to accelerate the green and digital transformation of the energy system.

Benefiting from Horizon 2020 funding, the recently completed project OPEN DEI supported next-generation digital platforms in Manufacturing, Agriculture, Energy, and Healthcare by promoting innovation, collaboration, large-scale piloting, and standardisation efforts, and to enable a more unified industrial data platform.

Furthermore, the InterConnect project, worked on advanced solutions for connecting and converging digital homes and buildings with the electricity system. In May 2023, the project published the first-generation blueprint for a Common European Reference Framework for energy saving applications. This blueprint stands as a testament to the project team’s dedication and expertise in providing interoperable solutions to consumers. It represents a valuable contribution to the implementation of the EU’s Digitalisation of Energy Action Plan.

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