The European Commission today awarded €1 billion funding to 19 projects to fight climate change under the second call of the so-called NER 300 funding programme. The projects will be funded with revenues from the sale of emission allowances under the EU Emissions Trading System.
The pioneering projects cover a range of technologies − bioenergy, concentrated solar power, geothermal power, photovoltaics, wind power, ocean energy, smart grids and, for the first time, carbon capture and storage (CCS).
Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action, said: "With these first-of-a-kind projects, we will help protect the climate and make Europe less energy dependant. The €1 billion we are awarding today will leverage some additional €900 million of private investment. So almost €2 billion of investment in climate-friendly technologies here in Europe. This is a contribution to reducing Europe's energy bill of more than €1 billion per day that we pay for our imported fossil fuels."
The NER 300 projects will increase the annual EU renewable energy production and, together with the 20 projects from the first call, create several thousand jobs during the construction and operation phases.
Funded projects include the first example of a large-scale CCS project in the EU. The UK-based project will use oxyfuel technology to capture 90% of the CO2 produced by burning coal at the Drax power plant near Selby in Yorkshire, and will store it safely in an offshore storage site in the North Sea. The CCS project will capture 1.8 million tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to taking over a million cars off the roads.
The NER 300 programme is so-called because it is funded from the sale of 300 million emission allowances from the new entrants' reserve (NER) set up for the third phase of the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS).