In response to the first call for large-scale projects of the Innovation Fund, the European Commission received 311 applications for innovative clean tech projects in renewable energy, energy-intensive industries, energy storage, and carbon capture, use and storage.
The number of applications per sector (1) is :
Applications come from projects to be implemented in all Member States, Iceland and Norway and the proposed projects have requested a total of EUR 21.7 billion. The proposed projects promise to reduce around 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 during their operating period within the Innovation Fund, roughly the equivalent of a third of EU emissions for 2018 (2).
The funding of projects under this call will help boost to the EU’s green recovery, deliver on the EU climate goals under the European Green Deal and reinforce European technological leadership on a global scale.
Mauro Petriccione, Director-General for DG Climate Action, said: ‘We are thrilled to have received so many applications for the first Innovation Fund call. These applications are for clean tech projects in all EU Member States, Iceland and Norway thus paving the way for the transition to climate neutrality across Europe. This is impressive as it shows the conviction of our businesses that in these uncertain times green investments are the way forward!’.
The first call for large-scale projects closed on 29 October 2020. The next step is to check the admissibility and eligibility of all submissions. Proposals that fulfil the admissibility and eligibility conditions will be evaluated by external evaluators against the award criteria.
Applicants will be informed about the results of the evaluation in the first quarter of 2021. The best ranked 70 projects will be invited to submit a full application for the second stage by 23 June 2021. Rejected proposals that have the potential to improve their maturity may be invited for the project development assistance provided by the European Investment Bank. The information on the evaluation results from the second stage will be provided in the fourth quarter of 2021. Grants will be awarded in end 2021.
Another call for proposals of EUR 100 million under the Innovation Fund focused on small-scale projects with total capital costs below EUR 7.5 million is in preparation and is expected to be launched on 1 December 2020.
Funded by revenues from the auction of emission allowances from the EU’s Emissions Trading System, the Innovation Fund aims to create the right financial incentives for companies and public authorities to invest now in the next generation of low-carbon technologies and give EU companies a first-mover advantage to become global technology leaders.
The Innovation Fund will be implemented by the Executive Agency for Networks and Innovation (INEA), while the European Investment Bank will provide project development assistance to promising projects that are not ready for full application.
(1) Projects can be cross-sectoral, i.e. implement an innovative clean tech solution in several sectors, but still need to be classified under one sector, so in practice there may be more applications of carbon capture and storage or hydrogen.