Ensuring competitive, sustainable, and secure energy in the years to come requires significant investment. The EU provides a number of funding programmes and lending schemes to help companies, regions, and countries successfully implement energy projects.
Connecting Europe Facility
The Connecting Europe Facility is the EU's €33 billion plan for boosting energy, transport, and digital infrastructure between 2014 and 2020. Under the CEF, €5.85 billion is available for trans-European energy infrastructure projects such as gas pipelines, transmission grids, LNG terminals, gas storage, and smart grids. In 2015 the European Commission drew up a list of 248 EU projects of common interest (PCIs) which may apply for CEF funding. This list is updated every two years: the next update is due in November 2017.
The EU's Research and Innovation Programme Horizon 2020 provides €5.9 billion in funding towards energy projects between 2014 and 2020. These projects aid in the creation and improvement of clean energy technologies such as smart energy networks, tidal power, and energy storage.
Annual work programmes and pilot projects
The NER 300 programme uses money from the sale of carbon allowances to fund demonstration projects for carbon capture and storage (CCS) and renewable energy in Europe. These projects are designed to demonstrate the commercial viability of technologies such as concentrated solar power, smart grids, bioenergy, and post-combustion CCS.
So far, €2.2 billion has been awarded to 38 renewable energy projects and 1 CCS project. The programme has also managed to leverage its funding with €2.86 billion in private investment.
The EU’s €63.4 billion Cohesion Fund aims to reduce economic and social disparity between EU countries and promote sustainable development. The Fund supports energy-related projects that benefit the environment such as by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the use of renewable energy or improving energy efficiency. Part of the Cohesion Fund will go in to implementing the EU’s plans for Energy Union with the help of the Energy and Managing Authorities Network. Another part of the Cohesion Fund also goes into supporting the Connecting Europe Facility.
European Regional Development Fund
The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) aims to reduce economic and social disparity between the EU's regions. One of the ERDF's four priority areas for 2014-2020 is 'the low carbon economy'. A minimum percentage of ERDF funding must be channelled towards low carbon projects in regions. Specifically:
- 20% for more developed regions
- 15% for transition regions
- 12% for less developed regions
European Investment Bank
The European Investment Bank helps finance energy projects by providing companies with loans and other financial instruments. The EIB also provides advice and expertise on administration and project development. Energy projects financed by the EIB include renewable generation, infrastructure, and new technologies. In renewables alone, EIB lending increased from €0.5 billion per year in 2004 to €6.2 billion per year in 2010.
Financing Energy Efficiency
Around €100 billion is needed per year to meet the EU's 2020 energy efficiency objectives. The EU therefore has support schemes and initiatives to accelerate energy efficiency investments, but private investments are also needed.
Financing local sustainable energy
The EU has a range of financing opportunities that can support sustainable energy projects in cities. Find out more about financing local sustainable energy .
European Energy Programme for Recovery
The European Commission's €3.98 billion European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR) finances key energy projects. So far, the EEPR has helped fund 44 gas and electricity infrastructure projects, 9 offshore wind projects, and 6 carbon capture and storage projects. Under the EEPR, the European Commission has also launched the European Energy Efficiency Fund (EEE-F). The EEE-F offers financial products such as senior and junior loans, guarantees, or equity participation to energy efficiency investments made by local, regional, and national authorities.
Beneficiaries of EEPR funding have a legal obligation to inform the public of the EU's financial support through the proper publicity.