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Climate Action

Innovation Fund

NER-300-Programm

ProgrammNER300 ist ein Finanzierungsprogramm, das ca. 2Mrd.EUR für innovative CO2-arme Technologien bündelt und sich auf die großtechnische...

The Innovation Fund is one of the world’s largest funding programmes for the demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies.

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It will provide around EUR 20 billion of support over 2020-2030, depending on the carbon price, for the commercial demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies, aiming to bring to the market industrial solutions to decarbonise Europe and support its transition to climate neutrality.

The goal is to help businesses invest in clean energy and industry to boost economic growth, create local future-proof jobs and reinforce European technological leadership on a global scale.

This is done through calls for large and small-scale projects focusing on:

  • innovative low-carbon technologies and processes in energy-intensive industries, including products substituting carbon-intensive ones
  • carbon capture and utilisation (CCU)
  • construction and operation of carbon capture and storage (CCS)
  • innovative renewable energy generation
  • energy storage

How is the Innovation Fund funded?

The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), the world’s largest carbon pricing system, is providing the revenues for the Innovation Fund from the auctioning of 450 million allowances from 2020 to 2030, as well as any unspent funds from the NER300 programme.

As the successor of the NER300 programme, the Innovation Fund improves the risk-sharing for projects by giving more funding in a more flexible way through a simpler selection process and is also open to projects from energy-intensive industries.

For the period 2020-2030, the Fund may amount to about EUR 20 billion, depending on the carbon price. In parallel to the Innovation Fund, the EU ETS provides the main long-term incentive for these technologies to be deployed.

The Innovation Fund is a key funding instrument for delivering the EU’s economy-wide commitments under the Paris Agreement and its objective to be climate neutral by 2050, as recognised in the European Green Deal Investment Plan.

What will be funded?

The Innovation Fund focuses on highly innovative technologies and big flagship projects within Europe that can bring on significant emission reductions. It is about sharing the risk with project promoters to help with the demonstration of first-of-a-kind highly innovative projects.

It aims to finance a varied project pipeline achieving an optimal balance of a wide range of innovative technologies in all eligible sectors and Member States, Norway and Iceland.

At the same time, the projects need to be sufficiently mature in terms of planning, business model as well as financial and legal structure.

The fund supports cross-cutting projects on innovative low-carbon solutions that lead to emission reductions in multiple sectors, for example, through industrial symbiosis.

The Fund is also open to small-scale projects with total capital costs under €7.5 million.

Application process

There will be regular calls for proposals in the lifetime of the Innovation Fund.

Project proponents can apply via the EU Funding and Tenders portal by submitting their proposals when there is an open call for projects.

For more information about the different calls, check the large-scale projects tab and the small-scale projects tab.

Award criteria

Projects will be selected based on:

  • effectiveness of greenhouse gas emissions avoidance
  • degree of innovation
  • project maturity
  • scalability
  • cost efficiency

The detailed scoring and ranking methodology, as well as possible additional criteria for geographical and sectorial balance, are set in each call for proposals. For small-scale projects, the selection criteria are simplified.

For the criteria of the first call for proposals for large-scale projects, check the Funding and Tenders Portal and for the criteria of the call for the small-scale projects, check the small-scale projects tab.

Grant financing

The Innovation Fund will support up to 60% of the additional capital and operational costs of large-scale projects and up to 60% of the capital costs of small-scale projects.

The grants will be disbursed in a flexible way based on project financing needs, taking into account the milestones achieved during the project lifetime.

Up to 40% of the grants can be given based on pre-defined milestones before the whole project is fully up and running.

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Implementation

European Commission

The European Commission, assisted by the implementing bodies CINEA and EIB, is tasked with the overall management of the Innovation Fund. The final responsibility for the selection of projects that will be awarded the Innovation Fund grant or the PDA support lies with the Commission.

For the development of the Innovation Fund, the Commission is assisted by the Innovation Fund Expert group. Information on the group and its meetings is available in the Register of Commission Expert Groups, while its work in preparing the first call for proposals is available under the large-scale projects tab.

European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency

The Commission has designated the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) as the implementing body of the Innovation Fund. CINEA is in charge of:

  • managing the calls for proposals and all related procedures
  • providing guidance and support for applicants
  • managing the project proposal submission and evaluation processes, including eligibility checks
  • the signature of grant agreements
  • the disbursement of the Innovation Fund grants
  • monitoring the technical/financial management of projects in the Innovation Fund portfolio
  • providing expert technical support and services to project promoters
  • monitoring and controlling projects ex-post, including management of recoveries
  • ensuring visibility of the programme, available funding, results and achievements via communication actions and products, including events

CINEA reports regularly to the Commission and provides feedback on general orientations for further development of the Innovation Fund.

European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank is responsible for the provision and management of the Project Development Assistance (PDA) support. The EIB is also in charge of the monetisation of the Innovation Fund allowances and the management of the Innovation Fund revenues. The EIB reports regularly to the Commission.

Member States

Member States actively participate in the implementation of the Innovation Fund. They are consulted on key decisions, including:

  • decision to launch the call for proposals,
  • maximum amount of the Innovation Fund support to be made available for the PDA,
  • list of pre-selected projects for PDA support and
  • list of pre-selected projects for the Innovation Fund grants, prior to the award of grants.

If requested by the Commission, Member States also advise and assist the Commission in setting general orientations for the Innovation Fund, as well as in addressing problems in the implementation of a project. Regulatory and financial support from a government or local authority are be an important element to evaluate the maturity of projects.

Other forms of support and funding synergies

Innovation Fund grants can be combined with funding from other support programmes, for example:

A paper provides more clarifications on the combination of Innovation Fund support with other public support.

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Innovation Fund and State aid

The Innovation Fund grant is not considered to be State aid. To cover the remaining costs, a project applicant can combine the Innovation Fund grant with public support by a Member State.

The amount of public support for a project will depend on the cumulation thresholds of the applicable State aid rules, such as:

  • the Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy – EEAG (2014/C 200/01);
  • the General Block Exemption Regulation – GBER (651/2014);
  • the State aid rules applying to the Important Projects of Common European Interest – IPCEI (2014/C 188/02).

The above-mentioned State aid measures are currently under review and possibly subject to update.

Stakeholder engagement

In 2019, the Commission organised an Innovation Fund Tour of workshops hosted by sector associations and Member States to prepare the first call for proposals.

The Commission presented the new funding instrument and the essential elements to be developed for the first call, while companies came forward with their project ideas and discussed key sector-specific issues.

The list of projects presented at the workshops helped the Commission gather real life examples as test cases for various methodologies on the selection criteria.

More information:

More information

For more information you can contact the Innovation Fund Team at DG Climate Action at CLIMA IF EXPERTGROUP.

Large-scale

‘Large-scale’ are projects with a capital expenditure above EUR 7.5 million.

Planning of the second call for large-scale project proposals

We are planning to launch the second call for large-scale projects on 26 October 2021 with estimated budget between EUR 1,3 and 1,5 billion EUR, depending on the carbon price. The application and selection process will have only one stage. The methodology for assessing projects will remain largely similar to the first call and the call documents will be improved to better guide applicants. Both resubmissions and new applications will be welcome. The deadline to submit an application is expected to be on 1 March 2022. The information on the evaluation results will be provided in July 2022 and grants will be awarded in the last quarter of 2022.

EventTiming (expected)
Launch of the second large-scale call (expected)26 October 2021
Deadline for submission of applications (expected)1 March 2022
Information on evaluation results (expected)July 2022
Award of the grants and project development assistanceQ4 2022

Overview of the first call for large-scale project proposals & next steps

The first call for large-scale projects opened on 3 July 2020 with a budget of EUR 1 billion for breakthrough technologies for renewable energy, energy-intensive industries, energy storage, and carbon capture, use and storage. The call closed on 29 October 2020. We received 311 applications for innovative clean tech projects, promising to reduce around 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 during their operating period within the Innovation Fund. Further analysis shows the main technological pathways employed in the proposed projects.

The proposals that fulfilled the admissibility and eligibility conditions have been assessed against the award criteria of the first stage by independent external evaluators. In March 2021, the best-ranked 70 applicants were invited to submit full project proposals for the second stage of the call, which closed on 23 June 2021. We have received 66 applications that are currently being evaluated by external evaluators.

In addition, rejected proposals which meet some minimum requirements and have the strongest potential to improve their maturity may be offered project development assistance (PDA) provided by the European Investment Bank. The Commission has adopted the first PDA award decision in July, and it will be followed by signature of individual PDA agreements by the EIB and implementation of the PDA services.

15 large-scale projects were selected to receive PDA for the 1st call. The support, provided as a tailor-made technical assistance by the European Investment Bank aims to advance their financial, technical or operational maturity, with a view of potential re-submission under future Innovation Fund calls.

The information on the evaluation results from the second stage will be provided in the fourth quarter of 2021. Grants will be awarded in the first quarter of 2022.

EventTiming
Launch of the first large-scale call3 July 2020
Deadline for submission of applications to 1st stage29 October 2020
Information on evaluation results and invitation for the 2nd stageMarch 2021
Deadline for submission of applications to 2nd stage23 June 2021
PDA award decisionJuly 2021
Information on 2nd stage evaluation resultsQ4 2021 (expected)
Award of the grantsQ1 2022

On 28 April 2021, the Commission organised an online event on the first two calls for projects launched in 2020 under the Innovation Fund. The event provided an overview of the project applications invited to the second stage of the large-scale call and discussed lessons learnt and best practices.

You will find all information and documentation needed at the Funding and Tenders Portal, including the call text, application forms, Frequently Asked Questions and the helpdesk for additional questions.

More information is also available on CINEA website.

Questionnaire on the Innovation Fund application process

We gathered feedback on the first stage application process of the call for large-scale projects. We are integrating the recommendations into the preparation of the future Innovation Fund calls to improve the application process. You can find a complete overview of the results of the survey.

Webinars on the first call for large-scale project proposals

Key elements of first call for large-scale projects

The first call will fund clean energy and clean industry innovative investments to contribute to the green recovery of EU economy and maintain the momentum in EU journey to climate neutrality.

Key elements of the first call for proposals for large-scale projects:

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Innovation Fund Expert Group meetings

The Innovation Fund calls for proposals are prepared with the active involvement of the Innovation Fund Expert Group.

8th meeting Innovation Fund Expert Group

On 6 July 2021 the Innovation Fund Expert Group gathered virtually to discuss the state of play on the first calls and the planning of the second calls for large-scale and small-scale projects. The meeting has also hosted a session on the additional advisory services offered by the European Investment Bank and a session on new financing opportunities to support investments in clean technologies.

7th meeting Innovation Fund Expert Group

On 17 December 2020, we have organised the 7th Innovation Fund Expert Group meeting to present the statistics on the applications for the large scale projects call and the results of the questionnaire on the application process. The members have also discussed the creation of a network of National Contact Points and the planning of the second calls for proposals.

6th meeting Innovation Fund Expert Group

On 21 October 2020, the Innovation Fund Expert Group has discussed and provided its feedback on the preparation of the call for small-scale projects.

5th meeting Innovation Fund Expert Group

On 5 June 2020, the Innovation Fund Expert Group had a live-streamed virtual meeting.

The following background documents informed the discussions:

These build on the discussion papers developed for the technical workshops in February and March and subsequent feedback received.

Technical workshop on project maturity, scalability and innovation selection criteria

On 12 March, a web-streamed workshop addressed the project maturity, innovation and scalability selection criteria, due diligence, project development assistance and knowledge sharing under the Innovation Fund.

Technical workshops on GHG emission avoidance and relevant costs

On 5-6 February 2020 a group of technical experts selected by the members of the Innovation Fund Expert Group (IFEG) met to discuss potential methodologies to estimate GHG emissions avoidance and relevant costs of innovative projects eligible for funding under the Innovation Fund, in the preparation for the first call for proposals expected for June 2020.

4th meeting Innovation Fund Expert Group

On 18 December 2019 the Innovation Fund Expert Group (IFEG) met to start the final preparation for the first call.

3rd meeting Innovation Fund Expert Group

On 28 March 2019, the Innovation Fund Expert Group met to start the discussions on the preparation for the first call.

2nd meeting Innovation Fund Expert Group

On 4 December 2018, the Innovation Fund Expert Group met to discuss the draft Delegated Regulation on the operation of the Innovation Fund.

1st meeting Innovation Fund Expert Group

On 8 June 2018, the Innovation Fund Expert Group met for the first time to discuss its role, the lessons learned from the NER 300 programme and the rules for financing, application, project selection and governance of the Innovation Fund.

Small-scale

‘Small-scale’ are projects with total capital costs below EUR 7.5 million.

Planning of the second call for small-scale project proposals

The second call for small-scale projects is planned to be launched in March 2022 with an expected budget of EUR 100 million and will remain open for five months. The call text and application process will remain largely similar to those of the first call.

EventTiming (expected)
Launch of the second small-scale call15 March 2022
Deadline for the submission of applicationslate August 2022
Information on evaluation results and invitation for grant preparationQ1 2023
Award of the grants and PDAAs of Q2 2023

Overview on the small-scale project proposals and next steps

Applicants were informed about the results of the evaluation process for the first call for small-scale projects in July 2021. 32 successful applicants were invited to start the grant preparation process. Grants will be awarded at the end of 2021.

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In addition, rejected proposals which meet some minimum requirements and have the potential to improve their maturity may be offered project development assistance provided by the European Investment Bank.

EventTiming
Launch of small-scale call1 December 2020
Deadline for submission of applications10 March 2021
Information on evaluation results and invitation for grant preparationMid July 2021
Award of the grants and PDAAs of Q4 2021 (expected)

The first call for small-scale projects opened on 1 December 2020 with a budget of EUR 100 million for breakthrough technologies in renewable energy, energy-intensive industries, energy storage, and carbon capture, use and storage. The call closed on 10 March 2021 and we received 232 applications for innovative clean tech projects in all sectors located in all EU Member States, Iceland and Norway.

During the second quarter 2021, independent evaluators assessed the proposals which fulfilled the admissibility and eligibility conditions against the award criteria.

On 28 April 2021, the Commission organised an online event on the first two calls for projects launched in 2020 under the Innovation Fund. The event provided overview of the applications received for the small-scale call and presented the results of the applicants’ survey on the application process. You can find here the video and the presentations.

You will find all information and documentation about this call at the Funding and Tenders Portal, including the call text, application forms, Frequently Asked Questions and the helpdesk for additional questions.

More information is also available on CINEA website.

Questionnaire on the Innovation Fund application process

We gathered feedback on the application process of the call for small-scale projects. We are integrating the recommendations into the preparation of the future Innovation Fund calls to improve the application process. You can find a complete overview of the results of the survey.

Webinars

Innovation Fund webinar 1: small-scale call application step-by-step

Key elements of first call for small-scale projects

The first call for small-scale projects will fund innovative projects in clean energy and industry to support the deployment of key technologies needed to reach climate neutrality and contribute to Europe’s green recovery.

Key elements of the first call for small-scale projects:

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The emphasis was on truly innovative projects that are ready for commercial deployment, for instance delivering installations to a customer in a new market segment. Apart from the main sectors, three key activities were encouraged: products that substitute carbon-intensive ones, net carbon removal innovations and direct air capture.

Preparation of the first call for small-scale projects

The first call for small-scale projects was prepared throughout 2020 with the active involvement of the Innovation Fund Expert Group.

Events

Legal framework

First call for small-scale projects

First call for large-scale projects

Innovation Fund regulation

Innovation Fund Expert Group

National contacts

Innovation Fund support is available to projects located in all EU Member States, Norway and Iceland. In several of these countries, national contact points can provide further information on the Fund and in particular its interactions with national funding instruments and other EU programmes.

Austria

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Ms Paula Wagner

Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology

Stubenbastei 5
1010 Vienna

Tel: +43 1 711 00-613526
Email: paula.wagner@bmk.gv.at
Websites: www.bmk.gv.at, www.infothek.bmk.gv.at

Ms Isabella Plimon

Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology

Stubenring 1
1010 Vienna

Tel: +43 1 711 00-603050
Email: isabella.plimon@bmk.gv.at
Websites: www.bmk.gv.at, www.infothek.bmk.gv.at

Belgium

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Mr Simon De Wachter

Energy and Climate Agency of Flanders (VEKA)

Koning Albert II-laan 20 bus 17

Tel.: +32 2 553 11 70
Email: simon.dewachter@vlaanderen.be
Website: www.energiesparen.be

Croatia

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Ms Madlena Ožanić

Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development

Radnička cesta 80
10 000 Zagreb

Tel.: +385 1 3717 909
Email: madlena.ozanic@mingor.hr; Inovacijski-fond@mingor.hr
Website: https://mingor.gov.hr

Cyprus

 

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Ms Maria Loizou

Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment

20-22, 28th October Avenue
2414 Engomi, Nicosia

Tel.: +357 22408955
Email: mloizou@environment.moa.gov.cy
Website: www.moa.gov.cy

Ms Elena Poulli

Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy

29, Vyronos Avenue
1096 Nicosia

Tel.: +357 22691921
Email: epoulli@research.org.cy, epoulli@dmrid.gov.cy
Website: www.dmrid.gov.cy

Czechia

 

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Mr Ivo Vojáček

Ministry of the Environment

Vršovická 1442/65
100 00 Praha 10

Tel.: +420 267122428
Email: ivo.vojacek@mzp.cz
Website: www.mzp.cz

Denmark

 

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Ms Eleni Borisova

Danish Energy Agency

Niels Bohrs Vej 8
6700 Esbjerg

Tel.: +45 33 92 66 66
Email: elbo@ens.dk
Website: www.ens.dk

Estonia

 

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Ms Kaia Treier

Environmental Investment Centre

Narva mnt 7a
15172 Tallinn

Tel.: +327 627 4154
Email: kaia.treier@kik.ee
Website: www.kik.ee

Finland

 

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Mr Juho Korteniemi

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment

P.O Box 32, 00023 Government

Tel.: +358 29 50 47054
Email: juho.korteniemi@tem.fi
Website: www.tem.fi

France

 

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Mr Paul Bonnetblanc

Ministry for an Ecological Transition

DGEC/DE/SD2/2A
92055 La Défence Cedex

Tel.: +33 1 40 81 85 96
Email: paul.bonnetblanc@developpement-durable.gouv.fr
Website: www.ecologie.gouv.fr

Germany

 

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Greece

 

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Mr Georgios Zisis-Tegos

Ministry of Environment and Energy

147 Patission str.
11251 Athens

Tel.: + 30 210 86 26 000
Email: g.zisis@prv.ypeka.gr
Website: www.ypen.gov.gr

Hungary

 

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Ms Viktória Péteri

Ministry for Innovation and Technology

1011 Budapest, Fő utca 44-50.
P.O. Box: 1440 Budapest Pf. 1.

Tel.: +36 1 795 4171
Email: viktoria.peteri@itm.gov.hu
Website: www.kormany.hu

Iceland

 

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Mr Sigurður Björnsson

The Icelandic Centre for Research

Email: sigurdur.bjornsson@rannis.is
Website: www.rannis.is

Ireland

 

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Mr Gary Jones

Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications

Email: InnovationFund@decc.gov.ie

Italy

 

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Mr Mauro Maurici

Sogesid SpA

Via Cristoforo Colombo, 44
00154 Roma

Tel.: +39 0657225173
Email: maurici.mauro@minambiente.it
Website: www.sogesid.it

Mr Daniele Villoresi

Sogesid SpA

Via Cristoforo Colombo, 44
00154 Roma

Tel.: +39 0657225125
Email: villoresi.daniele@minambiente.it
Website: www.sogesid.it

Latvia

 

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Mr Gusts Zustenieks

Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development

Peldu street 25
Riga, LV-1494

Tel.: +371 67026489
Email: gusts.zustenieks@varam.gov.lv
Website: www.varam.gov.lv

Lithuania

 

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Mr Tomas Aukštinaitis

Ministry of Environment

A. Jakšto g. 4
LT-01105, Vilnius

Tel.: +370 610 79985
Email: tomas.aukstinaitis@am.lt
Website: www.am.lrv.lt

Ms Ieva Visockienė

Ministry of Energy

Gedimino pr. 38
LT-01104, Vilnius

Tel.: +370 5 203 4677 (6)
Email: ieva.visockiene@enmin.lt
Website: www.enmin.lrv.lt

Malta

 

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Ms Maria Dimech

Funds and Programmes Division

Office of the Prime Minister
PPCD/FPD, Triq il-Kukkanja
Santa Venera

Tel.: +356 22001164
Email: maria.dimech.1@gov.mt

Netherlands

 

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Mr Michiel de Boer

Netherlands Enterprise Agency

Prinses Beatrixlaan 2
NL-2595 AL The Hague
P.O. Box 93144
NL-2509 AC The Hague

Tel.: +31 (0)88 042 5465, +31 (0) 6 5248 6331
Email: michiel.deboer@rvo.nl
Website: https://english.rvo.nl/subsidies-programmes/innovation-fund

Norway

 

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Mr Jo-Kristian Stræte Røttereng

Enova SF

Brattørkaia 17A
7010 TRONDHEIM

Tel.: +4741907430
Email: jo-kristian.rottereng@enova.no
Website: www.enova.no

Poland

 

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Ms Anna Konieczna

Ministry of Climate and Environment

Email: anna.konieczna@klimat.gov.pl
Website: www.gov.pl/web/klimat

Portugal

 

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Ms Ana Rita Branco

Portuguese Environment Agency

Rua da Murgueira 9 – Zambujal - Alfragide
2610-124 Amadora

Tel.: +351 21 472 14 78
Email: ana.branco@apambiente.pt
Website: www.apambiente.pt

Romania

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Ms Dana Chirvase

Ministry of Energy

Calea Victoriei 152 sector 1
Bucharest

Tel.: +40 212025413
Email: dana.chirvase@energie.gov.ro
Website: www.energie.gov.ro

Slovakia

 

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Ms Zuzana Šturdíková

Ministry of Environment

Bukureštská 4
811 04 Bratislava

Tel.: +421 2 5956 2582
Email: zuzana.sturdikova@enviro.gov.sk
Website: www.minzp.sk

Spain

 

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Mr Ignacio Ángel Sánchez García

Ministerio para la Transición Ecológica y el Reto Demográfico

Plaza de San Juan de la Cruz, S/N
28071 Madrid

Tel.: + 34 91 597 6738
Email: bzn-fondoinnovacion@miteco.es
Website: www.miteco.gob.es

Sweden

 

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Mr Dag Agnvall

Swedish Energy Agency

Tel.: +46 (0)16 544 20 44
Email: dag.agnvall@energimyndigheten.se
Website: www.energimyndigheten.se