EU Takes Major Step Towards Net-Zero Technologies with €4 Billion Innovation Fund
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The Commission is opening the Innovation Fund‘s 2023 call for proposals with a record budget of €4 billion to support the deployment of innovative decarbonisation technologies. The call is funded by revenues from the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), underlining the importance of carbon pricing for the green transition. The Commission has increased the overall funds available, and doubled the budget allocated for cleantech manufacturing projects compared to the previous call. €1.4 billion are available to strengthen industrial manufacturing capacity, technology leadership, and supply chain resilience in Europe.
Project promoters may apply for grants under five topics with distinct budget and capital expenditure (CAPEX) requirements:
- General decarbonisation (large-scale) – €1.7 billion available for projects with CAPEX above €100 million
- General decarbonisation (medium-scale) – €500 million available for projects with CAPEX between €20 million and €100 million
- General decarbonisation (small-scale) – €200 million available for projects with CAPEX between €2.5 million and €20 million
- Cleantech manufacturing – €1.4 billion available for projects with CAPEX above €2.5 million focusing on the manufacturing of components for renewable energy, energy storage, heat pumps and hydrogen production
- Pilot – €200 million available for projects with CAPEX above €2.5 million focusing on deep decarbonisation.
Projects will be assessed based on their potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, their degree of innovation, maturity, replicability and cost efficiency. The Innovation Fund can cover up to 60% of a project’s relevant costs. Projects located in the EEA are eligible to apply, and following the recent revision of the EU ETS Directive the Innovation Fund calls are now also open to the maritime, road transport and buildings sectors, in addition to technologies in energy-intensive industries (including aviation), renewable energy or energy storage. Promising projects that are not sufficiently mature for a grant or not selected for funding due to budget limitations may benefit from the European Investment Bank’s Project Development Assistance (PDA).
Project promoters have until 9 April 2024, 17:00 (CET), to apply via the EU Funding and Tenders Portal. Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend the IF23 Call Info Day, which will take place online on 7 December 2023. This event is an opportunity to learn about the new features, discover the application process and ask questions to the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA), which implements the Innovation Fund’s calls for proposals. Innovation Fund National Contact Points also organise Info Days in most Member States.
Applicants will be informed about evaluation results in the fourth quarter of 2024. Successful applicants will sign grant agreements in the first quarter of 2025.