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TOPIC : European Islands Facility - Unlock financing for energy transitions and supporting islands to develop investment concepts

Topic identifier: LC-SC3-ES-8-2019
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future (LC)

Types of action: CSA Coordination and support action
Opening date:
05 September 2018
Deadline: 05 February 2019 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Work Programme Part: Secure, clean and efficient energy
Topic Updates
  • 25 July 2018 00:00

    Please note that the text of this topic has been amended in the update of 25 july 2018

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Mobilising investment in energy efficiency and renewables is key for Europe's energy transition. In 2017 the European Commission and 14 EU Member States signed a political declaration to launch the new 'Clean Energy for EU Islands' initiative. Its aim is to help islands reduce their dependency on energy imports by making better use of their own renewable energy sources and embracing more modern, socially inclusive and innovative energy systems.

Europe's more than 2200 inhabited islands can be considered living-labs which can deliver a pipeline of energy investment projects across Europe. Energy transitions on islands often benefit from low opportunity costs due to the existing high prices of conventional liquid fuels in contrast to the variety of renewable sources they may have available.

However, despite tremendous potential, too few islands in Europe succeed in developing and scaling up investment packages. A high degree of organisational, technical and financial innovation is needed to reach significant scale. A key gap is the lack of capacity for islands to transform their overall long-term ambitions into a credible set of plan(s) and project outlines, i.e. investment concepts, that serve as the basis for concrete projects. In particular, local initiatives and/or public authorities on islands have limited resources to access the analytic, financial and legal expertise needed to collect additional data and develop an investment programme of scale i.e. pooling projects and/or developing financing strategies which demonstrate sufficient maturity to enable access to different sources of finance often mobilised locally on the island.

In order for islands to be microcosms of economic, social and environmental transformations they may often require assistance in designing coherent set of projects and selecting the most cost-effective option from the life-cycle perspective, aggregating smaller projects into island-size packages and in mobilising the significant amount of finance needed for a full energy transition. This may also include communication and engagement actions among island inhabitants to identify acceptable projects, which also can lead to projects co-ownership and mobilisation of local financing.

The investment concepts would allow a large number of islands and regions to access the various innovative financing streams which are being structured (e.g. PDA, ESIF Financial Instruments, National Investment Platforms), to increase the absorption rates of EFSI and to access private finance.


Proposals are expected to set up and run a 'European Islands Facility' which offers expertise and/or financial support and services to islands:

  • The Islands Facility should offer expertise and/or financial support to develop, within a limited period of time, innovative cost-effective investment concepts based on (or the development of – if they do not yet exist) a transition plan and a coherent set of projects that will lead to a decarbonised, efficient and resilient island energy system using local energy flows and resources;
  • The Islands Facility should be able to provide, inter-alia: translation of ambitions into a holistic energy transition plan, assistance in modelling of the energy transition on the island(s), a clear identification of the individual potential project pipeline(s), legal analysis and support, a description of how the investments will be financed and, if relevant, how the financing will be mobilised locally, advice on available funds and a design of the process to launch the investments. It can also cover the support for information and engagement actions among the islands inhabitants in the view of ensuring their acceptance, projects participation and co-ownership, also mobilising local financing;
  • The Islands Facility should develop in-house expertise to coordinate, support the implementation and critically evaluate the outcomes on the above-mentioned issues, i.e. preparation of energy transition plans, modelling of the energy transition on the islands, identification and financing of project pipelines, legal analysis, so that it will create synergies between requests for assistance from different islands;
  • Besides the technical assistance, the Islands Facility will maintain a public, searchable portal with the energy transition plans and project proposals that it has supported and developed, share and spread knowledge and best practices based on a sound and inclusive outreach strategy, with the aim to engage as many islands as possible in the energy transition;
  • Proposals should foresee to provide support to third parties ('support scheme') as described in part K of the General Annexes of the Work Programme. At least 30%, and up to 70%, of the budget should be directly allocated for spending to island cities, municipalities or their groupings;
  • Proposals should demonstrate that they are deeply rooted in the ecosystem of island communities, of sustainable energy planners and project initiators, and of the financing community of energy efficiency and energy system transformations;
  • Proposals should include a strategy to include contributions from 3rd parties to its funding such as local, regional or national authorities (while maintaining autonomy in its activities), and a strategy to continue its work after the granted budget is finished;
  • Proposals should demonstrate that they are able to mobilise a critical mass of islands and set up the support scheme of the Islands Facility in accordance with H2020 standards;
  • Proposals have to foresee services to underpin European added value and earmark appropriate resources (at least 30%, and up to 70%, of the requested EU contribution) to make experts available directly to the islands, provide the necessary quality control over the experts' outputs, and ensure that the results are used by other islands;
  • Proposals should demonstrate how they are able to select and prioritise islands for support under this facility, based on the following requirements: in order to qualify for support through the Islands Facility, islands must demonstrate proof of political commitment, an ambitious scale of potential investment and level of energy savings relevant to the island, investment sector targeted and type of financial solution envisaged, governance to develop the investment concept, a plan for long-term capacity building within the public administration, a plan on how they will include citizens and other stakeholders, and a commitment for monitoring for 2 years;
  • Proposals should include a task to establish links and synergies with R&I projects selected under LC-SC3-ES-4-2018-2020: Decarbonising energy systems of geographical Islands under the BRIDGE initiative.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of 10 million EUR would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

Proposals are expected to demonstrate the impacts listed below using quantified indicators and targets wherever possible:

  • Demonstration and documentation of increased leveraging of finance into energy transition investments by public authorities;
  • Overall, for every million Euro of Horizon 2020 support the action should trigger energy transition investments worth at least EUR 10 million;
  • Number of investment concepts delivered, and number of concepts that turned into tangible investments after the provided support;
  • Number of public authority staff with increased capacity for developing investible energy transition projects;
  • Innovation uptake by potential replicators;
  • Primary energy savings, GHG reductions, renewable energy production and investments in sustainable energy triggered by participating public authorities after the support of the action (respectively in GWh/year and in million EUR of investments).
Cross-cutting Priorities:

Open Innovation
Blue Growth

Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the Work Programme.
A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects. See the information in the Online Manual.


2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in Annex B and Annex C of the Work Programme.


Proposal page limits and layout: please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission system below.


3. Evaluation:

  • Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex H of the Work Programme.
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in the Online Manual.

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

Information on the outcome of evaluation (single-stage call): maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.

Information on the outcome of evaluation (two-stage call):
For stage 1: maximum 3 months from the deadline for submission.
For stage 2: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.

5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

Coordination and Support Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Standard proposal template
Standard evaluation form
General MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement


6. Additional provisions:

Horizon 2020 budget flexibility
Classified information
Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply

For grants awarded under this topic beneficiaries should provide support to third parties as described in part K of the General Annexes of the Work Programme. The support to third parties can only be provided in the form of lump sum grants. The respective options of Article 15.1 and Article 15.3 of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.

Members of consortium are required to conclude a consortium agreement, in principle prior to the signature of the grant agreement.

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20
10. Secure, clean and efficient energy WP 2018-20
18. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation WP 2018-20

General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

Open access to research data
The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in Annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs. See the Online Manual.

Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.


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To access existing draft proposals for this topic, please login to the Participant Portal and select the My Proposals page of the My Area section.

Type of Action Coordination & support action [CSA]
Topic European Islands Facility - Unlock financing for energy transitions and supporting islands to develop investment concepts - LC-SC3-ES-8-2019
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