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European Commission announces €1bn for cleantech projects

Image: EU Commission.

Image: EU Commission.

The European Commission has put out a call for innovative clean technology projects in the first phase of its €10 billion investment programme.

Between 2020 and 2030, the Commission will allocate the Innovation Fund, which is made up of allowances under the EU Emissions Trading System.

It is looking for renewable energy, energy-intensive industries, energy storage and carbon capture, use and storage projects that could help boost employment as part of a green recovery and pave the way to climate neutrality.

During this first phase, €1 billion will be allocated to large-scale clean technology projects, helping them to commercialise and overcome the challenges of large-scale demonstrations.

Executive vice-president of the Commission, Frans Timmermans, said: “This call for proposals comes at just the right time. The EU will invest €1 billion in promising, market-ready projects such as clean hydrogen or other low-carbon solutions for energy-intensive industries like steel, cement and chemicals.

“We will also support energy storage, grid solutions, and carbon capture and storage. These large-scale investments will help restart the EU economy and create a green recovery that leads us to climate neutrality in 2050.”

Projects will be selected for the funding based on their potential to avoid greenhouse gas emissions, as well as their innovation potential, financial and technical maturity and potential for scaling up and cost efficiency. All those in the EU Member States, along with Norway and Iceland, will be eligible to apply for funding.

Those projects that are promising but not yet ready for market can benefit from a separate €8 million budget set up by the Commission.

The funding has come from allowances under the EU Emissions Trading System, together with undisbursed revenues from the Innovation Fund’s predecessor, the NER 300 programme. It will be implemented by the Executive Agency for Networks and Innovation, and the European Investment Bank will provide support to projects that apply but are not yet ready for market.

Those interested can apply through the EU Funding and Tenders portal, and have until 29 October 2020 to submit their application. Successful projects will be announced in the first quarter of 2021, when the second phase of the fund will also be announced.

The UK is currently designing a new Emissions Trading System to replace its participation in the EU’s scheme following Brexit. The first draft of this were released in June, with the UK government stating it was open to considering linking the new system with the EU’s in the future.

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