Altener stands for Alternative Energy, an initiative relating to the development of new and renewable energy resources (RES) (see Electricity policy). It was established in 1993 and its objectives were to make such resources competitive, to eliminate barriers to their marketability, and to develop public awareness about their availability and virtues.
The 1997 White Paper laid down a clear strategy of doubling the proportion of RES in the European Union’s gross domestic energy consumption from 6% in 1997 to 12% in 2010. The ALTENER II programme was renewed in 1998, but little progress had been made towards the objective by 2001. The European Commission has remained optimistic, however, and in September 2001 a directive was adopted by the European Council and the European Parliament on the production of electricity and RES. This aimed to increase a reliance on RES by advocating greater use of ‘green’ electricity, which it hoped to see rise to 22% by 2010 (it stood at 14% in 1997).
AMS is the acronym for Aggregate Measure of Support, the calculation of the costs to taxpayers and consumers of both the domestic farm support and the export subsidies provided by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
"A multiannual programme for the promotion of renewable energy sources in the Community - Altener II (1998 to 2002)".
Decision No 646/2000/EC of the European Parliament and Council of 28 February 2000 adopting the multiannual programme for the promotion of renewable energy sources in the Community (Altener) (1998-2002). (OJ L 79 of 30.03.2000).
Call for proposals for the promotion of increased use of renewable energy sources in the European Community 2001 (OJ C63 of 28.02.2001).
Altener II is the non-technology programme for the promotion of renewable energies in the European Union. The main objectives of the programme are to help create the necessary legal, socio-economic and administrative conditions for the implementation of a Community plan for renewables and furthermore, to encourage private and public investments in the production and use of energy from renewable sources.
Target public/ beneficiaries
Regional and local authorities, organisations, individuals, public and private enterprises, as well as existing Union-wide networks, or temporary groupings of organisations and/or enterprises formed for the purpose of carrying out particular projects in the countries of the European Union or the European Economic Area (EEA).
The programme shall be open to cooperation with the Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC), who are in the pre-accession phase, as well as cooperation with Cyprus.
Proposals should involve at least two non-affiliated partners from different MemberStates or the EEA.
On 28 February 2000, the European Parliament and the Council approved a multiannual energy framework programme for 1998-2002, which includes Altener (the promotion of renewable energy sources) and Save (the promotion of energy efficiency).
The call for proposals for 2001 was published in the OJ C63 on the 28 February 2001.
Actions and measures aimed at developing the potential of renewable energy sources which will be financed under Altener include:
Studies and other actions, intended to implement and complement Community and Member States' measures aimed at developing the potential of renewable energy sources. These include the development of sector and market strategies; the development of norms and certifications; comparative analyses of the environmental impact and the long-term cost/benefit trends resulting from the use of traditional forms of energy and the use of renewable energy sources; the analysis of the legal, socio-economic and administrative conditions which are more favourable to the penetration of renewable energies and the preparation of appropriate legislation;
Pilot actions aimed at creating or extending infrastructures and instruments for the development of renewable energy sources in local and regional planning, the tools for planning, design and evaluation, and new financial and market instruments;
Promotion and dissemination measures to develop information, education and training structures; to encourage the exchange of experience and know-how aimed at improving coordination between international, Community, national, regional and local activities; establishment of a centralised system for collecting, prioritising, and circulating information and know-how on renewable energy sources;
Targeted actions facilitating the market penetration of renewable energy sources and relevant know-how, in order to facilitate the transition from demonstration to marketing, and encouraging investment by advising on the preparation and presentation of projects and their implementation.
The aim of these targeted actions is to facilitate and accelerate investment in new operational capacity for the production of energy from renewable sources, in particular by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), by providing financial support in order to reduce the peripheral and service costs of renewable energy projects and thus overcome the non-technical obstacles present.
The targeted actions will concern projects carried out in the following areas: biomass (including energy crops, firewood, residues from forestry and agriculture, municipal waste, liquid biofuels and biogas); thermal and photovoltatic solar systems; passive and active solar systems in buildings; small-scale (<10 MW) hydropower projects; wind power; geothermal and wave energy.
Monitoring and evaluation actions intended to: monitor the implementation of the Community strategy and action plan for the development of renewable energy sources; support initiatives taken to implement the action plan and the campaign for take-off, particularly with a view to promoting better coordination and greater synergy between actions; monitor the progress achieved by the Community and its Member States with regard to the development of renewable energy sources; evaluate the cost-effectiveness of actions and measures undertaken under the Altener programme.
Rural dimension/examples of activities in rural areas
A project managed by the Irish Electricity Supply Board in cooperation with a group of Irish consultants involves an examination of the potential for cultivating biomass in Ireland as part of the National Development Plan for renewable energy. This will include identification of resources and examination of costs and benefits in developing biomass. The result will be a set of guidelines on the economics and implications of biomass projects. Specific project proposals will be developed for the most promising use of the resource.
Nature and amount of aid
For actions and measures referred to in points 1), 3), and 5) of the paragraph ²eligible actions², the costs shall be borne by the Community. Where a body other than the Commission proposes a measure covered by point 3) of the "eligible actions", the Community¢s financial contribution will not exceed 50% of the total cost of the project, the balance being made up from either public or private sources or both. For actions and measures referred to under point 2) the Community contribution will not exceed 50% of the total cost, the balance being made up from either public or private sources or both. For actions and measures referred to under point 4) the level of funding will be established annually for each of the targeted actions.
Community financial support
The budget for ALTENER, the multiannual programme for the promotion of renewable energy, amounts to EUR 74 million for 1998-2002.
The Directorate General for Energy and Transport of the European Commission shall be responsible for the financial execution and implementation of the programme and shall be assisted by a committee composed of representatives of the Member States and chaired by the representative of the Commission.
More information on the Altener programme, legislation, contact information etc. can be obtained from the home page of Altener:
An information package is available in all official languages. It can be downloaded from the internet at the following address: http://europa.eu.int/en/comm/dg17/altcall.htm
Descriptions of selected projects: http://europa.eu.int/en/comm/dg17/projects.htm
AGORES is a website for renewable energy which has been launched by the Energy and Transport DG of the Commission. The site is designed to be the European centre and knowledge gateway for renewable energy. http://www.agores.org
The ALTENER programme is the main instrument to support and monitor the EU Strategy for Renewable Energy Sources and promotional activities within the Campaign for Take-Off. Information on the Campaign for Take-Off is available at
The "Renewable Energy Journal" is a free journal published every six months in English by Systèmes Solaires. To request a copy contact: Systèmes Solaires, 146, rue de l'Université,
F-75007 Paris. Tel: +33 1 44 18 00 80 Fax: +33 1 44 18 00 36.
http://www.agores.org, and http://www.observ-er.org
Additional sources of information
Directorate General for Energy and Transport/C-2,
Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 200,
Fax: +32 2 296 6283