In 2020, the EU launched its Innovation Fund for European energy and climate projects. During the period 2020-2030, the fund will make approximately 38 billion euros available for promising and impactful innovations. On November 3rd, a new funding round started for ‘large-scale projects’: projects with a size of over 7.5 million euros investment costs. Will you be among the contenders?
About the Innovation Fund
The EU’s ambitious Innovation Fund runs from 2020 to 2030. Its budget will be used to support innovative energy and climate projects focusing on:
- renewable energy generation
- energy storage
- low-carbon technologies for processes in energy-intensive industries
- substitutes for carbon-intensive products/processes
- CCU & CCS (carbon capture and utilisation/storage).
The fund focuses primarily on new, close-to-the-market innovations and mid-scale pilots. These are mainly first-of-a-kind commercialisation projects and pilot projects (excluding exploratory research). Projects must be based in an EU Member State, Norway, or Iceland.
New call for large-scale projects
On November 3rd, the European Commission launched its third Innovation Fund call for ‘large-scale projects’ – projects with a size of over 7.5 million euros investment costs. The deadline for submitting project proposals is March 16th, 2023.
Large-scale projects: what has changed?
This third call for large-scale projects shows some important changes. For example, the new round will have a budget of 3 billion euros, almost a doubling compared to the previous round.
The new call for proposals specifically mentions these four focus areas:
- General decarbonisation: for innovative projects in renewable energy, energy-intensive industries, energy storage or carbon capture, use, and storage that do not fall within the other focus areas (budget 1 billion euros)
- Innovative electrification and hydrogen applications in industry (budget 1 billion euros)
- Innovative clean-tech manufacturing (such as electrolysers and fuel cells, innovative renewable equipment, energy storage or heat pumps for industrial uses) (budget 0.7 billion euros)
- Mid-sized pilot projects for validating, testing and optimising highly innovative solutions for deep decarbonisation (budget 0.3 billion euros).
Other important changes have to do with the scoring system and the required annexes to the application. Notably, the absolute greenhouse gas emission avoidance sub-criterium is now capped at 2 (in previous rounds a score of 5 was possible), shifting the focus from big flagship projects to innovative and scalable ones. What’s more, if your project can deliver net carbon removals, greenhouse gas emission avoidance outside your project’s scope or trigger the production of additional renewable electricity resources, you can receive bonus points.
Funding from the Innovation Fund remains at 60% of the relevant project costs without any maximum grant amount. Therefore, the grant remains attractive for bigger projects.
We would like to point out that the new round is also open to the ‘resubmission’ of projects that were not successful in the previous round. This will offer applicants a chance to improve their earlier project and submit it again. EGEN uses its internal benchmark and best practices to improve sections that have not been evaluated well in the previous call. But of course, completely new projects are welcome too.
Looking for new success stories
The new call for proposals is a continuation of an ongoing success story. This story has been successful not only for climate innovation itself, but also for EGEN. In July, the European Union approved 17 Innovation Fund applications for large-scale projects. EGEN’s parent company PNO Group accounts for 7 of the 17 approved applications: over 40%! The total investment of the EU for that call amounted to 1.8 billion euros.
In all cases, these are innovations that can make a long-lasting contribution to the European climate and energy transition. You can imagine that our experts are extremely proud of this!
Some of the interesting projects funded by the Innovation Fund to boost innovation are highlighted here:
- Holland Hydrogen: on the Maasvlakte industrial facility, part of the Rotterdam port complex, Shell is building a 200-megawatt electrolysis plant. The electricity for the production of green hydrogen is sourced from the offshore wind farm Hollandse Kust (North).
- FUREC: energy company RWE processes non-recyclable solid waste streams and converts them into hydrogen.
- ELYgator: Air Liquide, leading provider of gases, is investing in a 200-megawatt electrolysis plant in the province of Zeeland. The facility will supply 15,500 tonnes of green hydrogen annually.
Interested? Don’t wait – take action!
Is your company working on energy or climate innovation? Submit your plans to our experts as soon as possible. We will be happy to assist you in preparing your Innovation Fund application in time, increasing your chances of success!
We would like to point out that a new call for proposals is also coming up for ‘small-scale projects’ (up to 7.5 million euros). The application period is expected to run from April to September 2023.
Interested? Please do not hesitate to contact us.