EU opens first call in €10bn clean technology drive

The European Commission has launched the €1 billion first call for proposals under its Innovation Fund, one of the world’s largest programmes for innovative low-carbon technologies.

The fund is financed by revenues from the auction of emission allowances from the EU’s Emissions Trading System.

The Commission said the Innovation Fund will finance breakthrough technologies for renewable energy, energy-intensive industries, energy storage, and carbon capture, use and storage.

For the period 2020-2030, the Innovation Fund will allocate around €10 billion from the auctioning of allowances under the EU Emissions Trading System, in addition to undisbursed revenues from the Innovation Fund’s predecessor, the NER 300 programme.

Commission executive vice-president Frans Timmermans said: “This call for proposals comes at just the right time.

“The EU will invest €1 billion in promising, market-ready projects such as clean hydrogen or other low-carbon solutions for energy-intensive industries like steel, cement and chemicals.

“We will also support energy storage, grid solutions, and carbon capture and storage.

“These large-scale investments will help restart the EU economy and create a green recovery that leads us to climate neutrality in 2050.”

The first call will provide grant funding of €1 billion to large-scale projects for clean technologies to help them overcome the risks linked to commercialisation and large-scale demonstration.

For promising projects which are not yet ready for market, a separate budget of €8 million is set aside for project development assistance.

The call is open for projects in eligible sectors from all EU member states, plus Iceland and Norway.

The funds can be used in cooperation with other public funding initiatives, such as state aid or other EU funding programmes.

Projects will be evaluated according to their potential to avoid greenhouse gas emission, innovation potential, financial and technical maturity, and potential for scaling up and cost efficiency.

The deadline for submission of applications is October 29, 2020.

Projects can apply via the EU Funding and Tenders portal where more details on the overall procedure are available.