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EU Programmes and Initiatives

Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS)

The Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) supports research projects in coal and steel sectors. These projects cover

  • production processes;
  • the application, utilization and conversion of resources;
  • safety at work;
  • environmental protection and
  • reducing CO2 emissions from coal use and steel production.

Every year around € 55 million is made available to universities, research centres and private companies to fund projects.

Each year calls are open for the RFCS that close on 15 September. Submitted proposals are then evaluated and eventually selected for funding. Successful proposals can start their work in the summer of the following year.

More information on the participation in the RFCS is available on the RFCS website.

Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP Programme)

The CIP-Programme aims at encouraging the competitiveness of European enterprises, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The programme runs from 2007 to 2013 and is divided into three operational programmes:

  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (EIP);
  • Information Communication Technologies Policy support Programme (ICT PSP); and
  • Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE).

The objective of the Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE) Programme is to fund action:

  • to foster energy efficiency and the rational use of energy resources (SAVE);
  • to promote new and renewable energy sources and to support energy diversification (ALTENER);
  • to promote energy efficiency and the use of new and renewable energy sources in transport (STEER).

The IEE programme does not fund technical RTD projects. It addresses non-technological barriers and acts as a catalyst for socio-economic, market, regulatory, policy and institutional changes.

The programme has a total budget of EUR 727 million and is implemented by the Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (EACI). Applicants are requested to submit a project proposal under a call for proposals which is published on a yearly basis.

'Eco-Innovations' are specifically addressed in the 'Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme' (EIP) of the CIP. This programme aims to support projects concerned with the first application or market replication of eco-innovative techniques, products, practices or processes of Community relevance and European added value which have already been technically demonstrated with success but which, owing to residual risk, have not yet penetrated the market.

LIFE+ Programme

The general objective of LIFE+ is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of Community environmental policy and legislation, including the integration of the environment into other policies. With regard to energy technologies LIFE+ finances demonstration projects based on studies or tests that have shown initial promising results. It helps thus bridging the gap between research funding and access to venture capital. Project themes include energy production and distribution, renewable energy technologies, energy-efficiency in different areas as well as the reduction of greenhouse gases. LIFE+ runs from 2007-2013 and has a total budget of EUR 2.143 billion.

The Programme is implemented by means of calls for proposals on a yearly basis. Applicants are requested to submit project proposals to their Member State's authority which may set national priorities and objectives. The proposals are then forwarded to the European Commission where they are evaluated and eventually selected for funding.

Structural funds

The objective of EU Cohesion policy is to strengthen the economic and social cohesion of the community in the context of sustainable development. Set-up and management of the fund is shared between the European Commission and the Member States and the regions. While the Commission is responsible for the common regulatory framework, the Member States and regions implement the multi-annual programmes. They take care of co-financing provisions and select and control individual projects.

In the new programme period of 2007-2013 member states are requested to focus cohesion instruments on priority themes. 'Energy including renewable energy sources' as well as 'research and technological development' are among these priority themes. Other priorities include 'innovation and entrepreneurship', 'information society' and 'transport' (for 'convergence regions').

Planned total expenditure for energy between 2007-2013 is about EUR 17 billion of which EUR 10.8 billion are directly targeting energy and EUR 6.2 billion are for promotion of clean urban transport. Furthermore part of the Cohesion Policy allocation for “RTD, innovation and entrepreneurship” (EUR 63.8 billion) can be used to support RDI in the energy sector (including renewable energies and energy efficiency).

Between 2007-2013 structural funds will allocate approximately EUR 99 billion (out of a EUR 347 billion in total) to research and development in the broad sense, of which almost EUR 50 billion will support 'core' R&D. Energy efficiency and renewable energies will be promoted by direct investments of in total EUR 9 billion and by indirect measures, including sustainable urban transport projects (EUR 6.2 billion). A strong emphasis is also placed on energy infrastructure (EUR 1.8 billion) and on improving the management of energy resources.

The implementation of regional policy will be assisted by the programmes JASPERS, JEREMIE and JESSICA. All three initiatives can support investments in sustainable energy. JASPERS (Joint Assistance in Supporting Projects in European Regions) will help the national and regional authorities to prepare large infrastructure projects while JEREMIE (Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises) will improve access to finance for micro to medium-sized enterprises. JESSICA (Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas) aims to provide solutions to the financing of projects for urban renewal and development using a combination of grants and loans.

Common Agricultural Policy

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) supports both the supply of bioenergy from agriculture and forestry as well as the use of bioenergy on farms and in rural areas.

Farmers producing bioenergy crops can benefit from the Single Farm Payments or Single Area Payments. In order to stimulate specifically bioenergy production, the EU grants an energy crop premium of EUR 45 /ha on a maximum 2 million ha and allows farmers to grow energy plants on set-aside land. In both cases, farmers have to prove that the crop is actually entering the energy chain.

The rural development policy, the second pillar of the CAP, addresses both the supply and the use of bioenergy. Member States can provide a variety of operations under the priority "renewable energies" in their rural development programmes from 2010, e g.:

  • Biogas production – anaerobic digestion plants using animal waste;
  • Perennial energy crops (short rotation coppice and herbaceous grasses);
  • Processing of agricultural/forest biomass for renewable energy;
  • Installations/infrastructure for renewable energy using biomass.

Development policy

Given the important role of energy in poverty alleviation, the EU launched the EU Energy Initiative at the 2002 World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. It aims at raining political awareness among high level decision makers, encouraging the coherence and synergy of energy-related activities and attracting new resources (capital, technology, human resources) from the private sector, financial institutions, civil society and end-users.

  • The main activity of the ACP-EU Energy Facility (ACP – Africa, Caribbean, Pacific) is to co-finance projects that deliver energy services to poor rural areas and to attract additional financing (leverage). A large part of the Facility will be implemented via a "call for proposals" system. For the period of 2008-2013 an amount of EUR 220 million from the European Development Fund (EDF) has been approved.
  • The Infrastructure Trust Fund for Africa benefits cross-border and regional infrastructure projects in sub-Saharan Africa. It channels grant resources from the Commission and Member States in such a way that they can be blended with the lending capacity of the European Investment Bank and Member State development financiers. The target infrastructure sectors are energy, water, transport and telecommunications.

The EU Thematic Programme for Environment and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources Including Energy (ENRTP) 2007-2013 has a global budget of more than EUR 800 million. One of the ENRTP’s priorities is to support sustainable energy options in the EU’s partner countries and regions.

The Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund (GEEREF) is set up as a global public-private partnership. It offers new risk sharing and co-funding options for various commercial and non-commercial investors. The GEEREF actively engages in the creation and funding of regional sub-funds or the scaling-up of similar existing initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa, including the Caribbean and Pacific Island States, Latin America, Asia, North Africa and other EU neighbouring countries. The emphasis is on deploying technologies with a proven technical track record in regions that are currently ignored by commercial investors.

European Investment Bank (EIB)

The EIB offers loans with a fixed, variable or revisable interest rate. An advantage of EIB finance is the extended maturities of the loans – in the industrial sector up to 12 years and for energy infrastructure up to 20 years and longer. The EIB adopts a flexible approach and tailors its financing instruments to the specific financing needs of the borrower.

The EIB's contribution to EU Energy Policy concentrates on five priority areas:

  • renewable energy;
  • energy efficiency;
  • research, development and innovation (RDI) in energy;
  • security and diversification of internal supply (including trans-European energy networks);
  • security of external supply and economic development (Neighbour and Partner Countries).

The European Investment Bank offers various loan formats in support of energy investment, depending on project size and category.

The lending target for 'Energy' has been set at EUR 7 billion for 2009 and 2010. The sub-target for renewable energy is EUR 1 billion for 2009 and 2010.

NER300 funding programme for demonstration of CCS and innovative renewable energy technologies

For more information visit the NER300 web site.