EU issues first call for clean energy projects to access €1bn fund

3 Jul 2020

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As part of the EU’s Innovation Fund, €1bn is being made available for projects that can range from energy storage to hydrogen fuel development.

Market-ready clean energy projects in Ireland – as well as those across the EU, Iceland and Norway – will now be able to access funding as part of the first €1bn call of the EU Innovation Fund.

With the European Green Deal now in place, the European Commission (EC) said that this will be one of the world’s largest programmes for the demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies, financed by revenues from the auction of emission allowances from the EU’s Emissions Trading System.

Projects will be sought after in the areas of renewable energy, energy-intensive industries, energy storage, and carbon capture, use and storage. In doing so, it’s hoped that this funding will provide a boost to the creation of local future-proof jobs, climate neutrality and asserting Europe’s place in the development of climate technologies.

‘Create a green recovery’

“This call for proposals comes at just the right time,” said the EC’s executive vice-president, Frans Timmermans.

“The EU will invest €1bn 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.”

Over the course of the Innovation Fund’s lifespan – from 2020 to 2030 – approximately €10bn will be distributed to clean energy projects. As part of this first call, the EU said projects that are not yet ready for market will be able to access a separate fund worth €8m.

It was also confirmed that the funds can be used in cooperation with other public funding initiatives, such as state aid or other EU funding programmes.

For Irish projects, such initiatives could include the €500m Climate Action Fund revealed by the outgoing Government last month. Under the new legislation set to be put before the Dáil later this year, the fund will be used to support projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, develop renewable energy or improve energy efficiency.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic