European Commission Innovation Fund Driving low-carbon technologies towards the market
The European Commission’s new funding programme - The Innovation Fund - is designed to support Europe’s vision for becoming climate neutral by 2050 and, in particular, give much needed support to high TRL (Technology-Readiness-Level), capitally-intensive technology to grow from demonstration scale to commercial scale.
- Create financial incentives for projects to invest in the next generation of technologies needed for the EU’s low-carbon transition.
- Boost growth and competitiveness by empowering EU companies with a first-mover advantage to become global technology leaders.
- Support innovative low-carbon technologies in all EU Member States.
Building upon its predecessor, the NER300 programme, The Innovation Fund offers flexible support in line with project needs. For example, up to 40% of the grant could be awarded based on pre-defined milestones prior to the project being fully functional. Decision-making and governance structures have been streamlined, and projects from energy-intensive industries are welcomed. Risk-sharing for projects has also been improved, with grants covering up to 60% of operational costs and additional capital.
What will be financed by The Innovation Fund?
- Highly innovative technologies and large flagship projects that can engender significant emission reductions.
- A varied project pipeline achieving an ideal balance of innovative technologies in all eligible sectors (energy intensive industries, renewable energy, energy storage, CCS and CCU) and Member States.
- Cross-cutting projects on innovative low-carbon solutions that lead to emission reductions in multiple sectors.
- Projects that boast a sufficiently mature plan, business model, and legal and financial structure.
The main criteria against which the proposal will be assessed are:
- Effectiveness of greenhouse gas emissions avoidance
- Degree of innovation
- Project maturity
- Cost efficiency
For large-scale projects with capital expenditure above 7.5 million EUR, the application process is comprised of two stages:
As can be seen, only 3 of the 5 selection criteria stated previously are used for the Expression of Interest phase to assess alignment with the call. For the full application, scalability and cost-efficiency are included in order to fully assess the business case and exploitation potential.
Timings for Large-Scale Project Applications
- 3 July 2020: Large-scale projects call launched
- 29 October 2020: Deadline for submission of 1st stage applications
- Early 2021: Evaluation results released and invitation for 2nd stage applications or Project Development Assistance (PDA)
- Mid 2021: Deadline for submission of 2nd stage applications
- Late 2021: 2nd stage evaluation results released
- End 2021: Grants awarded
The Innovation Fund will also finance small-scale projects with total capital costs under 7.5 million EUR. Small-scale projects will benefit from a simplified, one-stage application process. The European Commission Department for Climate Action (DG CLIMA) have produced a video to document their 2019 tour to present the Innovation Fund to European industries and Member States.If you would like to apply to The Innovation Fund or would like to discuss your eligibility please do not hesitate to get in touch with us and we will help you to craft a strong and persuasive funding bid.