Commission releases €600m for cross-border energy networks
Today the Commission is opening a call for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to help finance key EU energy infrastructure projects. €600 million will be made available with priority given to projects of common interest and related actions aiming at increasing competitiveness, enhancing Union security of energy supply, contributing to sustainable development and protection of the environment..
Once in place, these projects will contribute towards the completion of an EU internal energy market and the creation of a resilient Energy Union. This EU money is expected to act as a catalyst to speed up the implementation of the projects and attract investment from the private and public sectors.
With a total of €800 million available for grants in 2016, this is the second of two calls this year. The first call made €200 million available and closed in April 2016. The deadline to submit applications for the new call is 8 November 2016. A decision on the selection of proposals to be funded is expected to be announced by March 2017.
Vice-President for the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said: "Cross-border energy connections are at the heart of the Energy Union. They make us stronger together in the EU. With this CEF call we provide new investment opportunities for cleaner and smarter energy infrastructures".
EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: "The Paris Agreement sent a clear signal that the clean energy transition is here to stay. The Commission is committed to support this transition and invest where it is needed. The proposals will become the building blocks of this larger energy transformation, help connect the existing energy infrastructure across Europe, and bring significant benefits to our economy and our climate”.
In order to apply for a grant, a proposed project must feature on the list of 'projects of common interest'. An updated list was published in November 2015. It consists of 195 key energy infrastructure projects which are considered essential to completing the EU's internal energy market, boosting competition and contributing to the EU's energy and climate goals. When completed, each project should deliver significant benefits for at least two Member States.
EU financing for energy infrastructure under the CEF is €5.35 billion for the 2014-2020 period. The grants will contribute to carrying out both studies and construction works. However, proposals for works can only receive grants if the project will deliver significant benefits in a macro-regional context, such as security of supply, solidarity between Member States or innovation, while not being commercially viable.
The amount of EU support cannot exceed 50% of the eligible costs. If support is attributed to works, and only in exceptional cases when a project contributes significantly to the security of supply, enhances energy solidarity between Member States or offers highly innovative solutions, EU support may be increased to a maximum of 75% of the costs.
The first call for proposals under CEF Energy was organised in 2014 and €647 million was allocated to 34 proposals for grants for studies or works. Under the 2015 CEF calls, €366 million was allocated and 35 proposals were selected to receive grants.