Existing optical networks are driven by dynamic user and application demands but operate statically at their maximum performance. Thus, optical links do not offer much adaptability and are not very energy-efficient. In this paper a novel approach of implementing performance and power adaptivity from system down to optical device, electrical circuit and transistor level is proposed. Depending on the actual data load, the number of activated link paths and individual device parameters like bandwidth, clock rate, modulation format and gain are adapted to enable lowering the components supply power. This enables flexible energy-efficient optical transmission links which pave the way for massive reductions of CO2 emission and operating costs in data center and high performance computing applications. Within the FP7 research project Adaptive Data and Power Aware Transceivers for Optical Communications (ADDAPT) dynamic high-speed energy-efficient transceiver subsystems are developed for short-range optical interconnects taking up new adaptive technologies and methods. The research of eight partners from industry, research and education spanning seven European countries includes the investigation of several adaptive control types and algorithms, the development of a full transceiver system, the design and fabrication of optical components and integrated circuits as well as the development of high-speed, low loss packaging solutions. This paper describes and discusses the idea of ADDAPT and provides an overview about the latest research results in this field.