In 2020, the EU started its own ‘Innovation Fund’ for European energy and climate projects. With a grant budget of no less than 10 billion euros to be spent on promising and impactful innovations. Two brand-new application rounds are currently underway. Who are the new contenders?
About the EU fund for climate innovations
The EU Innovation Fund (IF) for climate runs from 2020 to 2030. The grant budget of a total of 10 billion euros will be used to support innovative energy and climate projects focused on:
- Renewable energy generation
- Energy storage
- Low-carbon technologies/processes in energy-intensive industries
- Substitutes for carbon-intensive products/processes
- CCU & CCS (carbon capture utilisation/storage)
The fund focuses primarily on new innovations ‘close to the market’. These are mainly demonstration projects and pilots (but not, for example, exploratory research). Projects can take place in an EU member state, Norway or Iceland.
New grant calls at the Innovation Fund
The Innovation Fund works with official grant rounds (‘calls for proposals’). Two new application rounds are currently underway. These calls are aiming for:
- Large-scale innovation projects (larger than 7.5 million euros). Expected application period: from 26 October 2021 to 1 March 2022.
- Small-scale innovation projects (between 2.5 and 7.5 million euros). This round is expected to start in March 2022 and closes 5 months later.
Changes around large-scale projects
The two new IF rounds have not yet been officially published. However, it is already known that there will be some important changes considering the large-scale projects. For example, the next round will have a budget between 1.3 and 1.5 billion euros (considerably more than the first round’s 1 billion). In addition, the related application procedure will be simplified: the previous two-step procedure will be dropped and reduced to a single stage.
It is also noteworthy that the new round is explicitly also open to the ‘resubmission’ of projects that were not successful the first time around. This will offer applicants a chance to improve their earlier project and submit it again. But of course the coming round also welcomes completely new projects!
Looking for new success stories
The two new rounds mentioned above are a continuation of the first series of calls from 2020. Of the 311 Innovation Fund applications submitted in Europe, the European Commission selected the best 70 projects to apply for the second phase. No less than 13 of these successful projects were supported by EGEN and PNO Consultants. A number of applications for smaller-scale project are still pending.
And in all cases, these are innovations that can make a structural contribution to the European climate and energy transition. Something our experts are extremely proud of! They are already busy looking for new innovations for the upcoming calls.
Tips and tricks
What tips and tricks do we have for interested parties and contenders? We asked Mark Broekman, Managing Director of EGEN.’ ’By now, we have built up quite a bit of knowledge and experience with the applications we made in the first rounds. We know what is expected and what is important. Before you start, for example, you have to think carefully about the project scope and best project category. And of course, the project must be correct and balanced on all sides. This includes not only an optimal and ‘flawless’ project plan, but also important annexes as Green House Gas Emission calculations, implementation plan, scalability and timeline with milestones’’.
The Innovation Fund is looking for large impactful innovation projects, Broekman stresses. An application can be very rewarding but… also takes a lot of time. Therefore it is essential to start preparing your application right now!
Interested? Don’t wait or hesitate!
Companies working on energy and climate innovations are advised to submit their plans to our experts at short notice. Our experts will be happy to assist you in preparing your Innovation Fund application in time, increasing the chances of a successful grant application! Interested? Call us or use the form below.