Climate Action

23 innovative renewable energy demonstration projects receive €1.2 billion EU funding

Solar Power Panels, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA © Digital Vision

The European Commission today awarded over €1.2 billion to 23 highly innovative renewable energy demonstration projects under the first call for proposals for the so-called NER 300 funding programme.

The projects will be co-financed with revenues obtained from the sale of 200 million emission allowances from the new entrants' reserve (NER) of the EU Emissions Trading System.

Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said: "This year Christmas has come early - today's Decision is a major milestone in EU climate policy. The NER 300 programme is in effect a 'Robin Hood' mechanism that makes polluters pay for large-scale demonstration of new low-carbon technologies. The €1.2 billion of grants – paid by the polluters - will leverage a further €2 billion of private investment in the 23 selected low-carbon demonstration projects. This will help the EU keep its frontrunner position on renewables and create jobs here and now, in the EU."

The projects cover a wide range of renewable technologies, from bioenergy (including advanced biofuels), concentrated solar power and geothermal power, to wind power, ocean energy and distributed renewable management (smart grids).

Collectively they will increase annual renewable energy production in Europe by some 10 TWh, the equivalent of the annual fuel consumption of more than a million passenger cars. More importantly, the aim is to successfully demonstrate technologies that will help substantially scale-up energy production from renewable sources across the EU.

Unfortunately, no carbon capture and storage (CCS) project could be awarded funding under today's Decision. The €275 million envisaged for CCS projects in the first call remains available to fund projects under the second phase of the programme.

The Commission will proceed swiftly with the implementation of the second call for proposals, covering unused funds from the first call as well as the revenues of the remaining 100 million allowances in the new entrants' reserve.

The NER 300 funding programme is implemented by the European Commission with the collaboration of the European Investment Bank (EIB) in the project selection, the sale of 300 million carbon allowances from the EU Emissions Trading System and the management of revenues.