The European Union is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 and by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. Moreover, the Renewable energy directive sets a binding target of 20% final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020 and the EU countries have already agreed on a new renewable energy target of at least 27% of final energy consumption in the EU as a whole by 2030.
Many aspects concerned with the integration and use of renewable energy in buildings for heat and power generation still need to be addressed to achieve a reliable and cost-effective supply. This is particularly challenging in the case of hospitals, for which security of energy supply is of paramount importance.
The European Union supports research activities to address the Societal Challenge "Secure, clean and efficient energy" through the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation "Horizon 2020". In the third quarter of 2016 a new Horizon 2020 initiative to promote innovation in renewable energy technologies will be launched: a Horizon Prize for a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) installation in a hospital using 100% renewable energy sources.
The prize will induce innovative renewable energy solutions integrating several technologies into one energy system able to supply both electricity and heat. Installing this kind of integrated equipment in the ecosystem of a hospital will not only ensure the security of its energy supply but also raise public awareness and provide a showcase for many other applications.
The prize, indicatively worth EUR 1 million, will be awarded in late 2019 to the installation with the best performance in terms of (among others) reliability, integration with the premises, operation and maintenance costs and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The installation should be recent, but operated continuously for at least six months, and contain an innovative energy storage component. The system will have to cover 100% of the hospital's annual energy needs, supplying at least 2 million kilowatt-hour electricity per year. The solution should also be replicable to other sites and include three different European renewable energy technologies.
The Horizon Prize is part of the European Commission’s series of "challenge" or "inducement" prizes, which offer a cash reward to whoever can most effectively meet a defined challenge. As policy tools, these prizes are particularly adapted to circumstances where a number of competing technologies can deliver similar outcomes.
The specific rules of contest will be published later in 2016.
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