The EU provides funding programmes to help finance European energy projects.

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 (CEF)

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. Every two years the European Commission draws up a list of EU projects of common interest (PCIs) which may apply for CEF funding. The new proposal (6 June 2018) is to renew the Connecting Europe Facility for 2021-2027 with a budget of €42.3 billion to support investments in the infrastructure networks for energy (€8.7 billion), transport (€30.6 billion) and digital (€3 billion). This represents a 47% increase compared to 2014-2020.

Horizon 2020 and FP7

Around €5.9 billion goes towards energy projects in the EU's Research and Innovation Programme Horizon 2020. These projects aid the creation and improvement of clean energy technologies, such as smart energy networks, tidal power, and energy storage. In November 2017 the European Commission published a report titled ‘Building a low-carbon, climate-resilient future’ on the areas where Horizon 2020 is funding research into clean energy solutions.

Previously, energy projects were funded by the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), which ran from 2007 to 2013.


Annual work programmes and pilot projects

NER 300

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.

Cohesion Fund

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 (ERDF)

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 (EIB)

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 2018, EIB loans helped to construct some 26 000 km of power lines and generate 15 228 MW of electricity, out of which more than 86% came from renewables.

The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is a joint initiative between the EIB Group and the Commission. It aims to mobilise private investment in projects which are strategically important for the EU. EFSI is also the central pillar of the "Investment Plan for Europe"; EFSI in the energy sector includes investments in energy efficiency, renewables, power grids and interconnectors, which are vital to speed up the decarbonisation of the EU economy.

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 .

Related legislation

European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR)

Launched in 2009 in order to support key investments in the context of the economic crisis and in order to promote energy transition, the  €3.98 billion European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR) finance aimed to 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).

After 7 years of implementation, in 2018 EEPR has achieved good results. 35 projects out of 44 in gas and electricity infrastructure projects are completed; 4 out of 9 in the Offshore wind projects are operationnal, but only 1 in the carbon capture and storage projects.

The Commission continues to monitor closely the on-going remaing projects. Lessons learned from EEPR were used in the preparation and the implementation of the projects of common interest (PCI).