Energy

EU funding possibilities in the energy sector

Cohesion Fund

The EU’s 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 for example by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the use of renewable energy or improving energy efficiency.

Part of the Cohesion Fund is used to implement the energy union strategy with the help of the Energy and Managing Authorities Network (EMA).

Connecting Europe Facility 

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) 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, Liquefied Natural Gas (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 latest proposal (6 June 2018) is to renew the CEF 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, see “EU Budget for the future” CEF factsheet for further information.

Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe

Around €5.9 billion goes towards energy research and innovation projects in the EU's Horizon 2020 programme. These projects aim at the creation and improvement of clean energy technologies, such as smart energy networks, tidal power, and energy storage. For more information, consult the report "Building a low-carbon, climate-resilient future" (November 2017).

The Innovation and networks executive agency (INEA) is running parts of Horizon 2020 in the areas of transport and energy. EASME - the executive agency for SMEs - is providing support through Horizon 2020 for innovation of energy efficient technologies and solutions for buildings, heating and cooling and more.

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

Horizon 2020 Energy Efficiency data hub

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: 20% for more developed regions,15% for transition regions and 12% for less developed regions.

European Investment Bank and the European Fund for Strategic Investments

The European Investment Bank (EIB) helps finance energy projects by providing companies with loans and other financial instruments. The EIB, together with the European Commission, launched the European Investment Advisory Hub as part of the Investment Plan for Europe. The hub acts as a single access point that provides advice and expertise on administration and project development across the EU.

Following the EU policy of ensuring access to safe, secure and affordable energy to all Europeans, the EIB financed energy infrastructure with about €62 billion in the period 2015-19. Out of this, in 2019, the bank provided €11.7 billion for energy-related projects, including €4 billion for renewables and €4.6 billion for energy efficiency. In November 2019, the EIB also adopted a new and more ambitious energy lending policy that aims to phase out traditional fossil fuel energy projects by 2021.

The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is a joint initiative between the EIB Group (the EIB and the European Investment Fund) and the Commission. It aims to mobilise private investment in projects which are strategically important for the EU, including the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy, power grids and interconnectors – all essential to speed up the decarbonisation of the EU economy.

Just Transition Mechanism

The Just Transition Mechanism is a financial tool that provide tailored support to the most vulnerable and coal-intensive regions in the transition to a greener economy. Over the period 2021-2027, it will mobilise at least €150 billion of investments to alleviate the socio-economic impact. The mechanism consists of three pillars

  • a Just Transition Fund of €40 billion to primarily provide grants
  • a dedicated scheme under InvestEU to crowd in private investments
  • a public sector loan facility with the EIB Group to mobilise additional investments and leverage public financing

Financing Energy Efficiency

To meet the energy union objectives and support the transition to a clean energy system, there is a need to further unlock private financing, in particular for energy efficiency investments. Therefore, the EU provides support schemes and various initiatives to accelerate energy efficiency investments, but private investments are also needed.

More about financing energy efficiency

The Innovation Fund 

The Innovation Fund, which is the successor of the NER 300 programme, is one of the largest funding programmes in the world that is dedicated to the demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies. 

The fund focuses on technologies and big flagship projects that can bring significant emissions reductions, including carbon capture and utilisation, carbon capture and storage and renewable energy generation.

The Innovation Fund is managed by the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) since 15 June 2020 and the first call for projects will be launched in summer 2020.

European Energy Programme for Recovery

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.

After 7 years of implementation, EEPR achieved good results in 2018. 35 projects out of 44 in gas and electricity infrastructure projects were completed; 4 out of 9 in the offshore wind projects are operational, but only 1 in the carbon capture and storage projects. The EEPR website was archived in 2019.

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

Under the EEPR, the Commission also launched the European Energy Efficiency Fund (EEE-F) which aims at promoting a sustainable energy market and climate protection.

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