The European Commission has announced a remarkable investment programme worth 10 B€ or more, focusing on highly innovative, mature technologies and big flagship projects that aim to bring significant emission reductions in Europe. We asked Risto Savolainen, our Vice President for the Sustainable Industries business unit, to shed more light into this topic.
Established for the period of 2021-2030 by the EU Emission Trading System (EU ETS), the Innovation Fund will provide grants to large-scale investment projects delivering significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The first call is expected to open in next couple of months. The deadline for submitting first phase project proposal will be in the last quarter of 2020.
The Innovation Fund was preceded by the NER300 programme where the maximum size of the grant was 300 M€ and average grant was 54 M€, but the Innovation Fund claims not to have a theoretical upper limit for the grant. In practice, however, the budget of the first call is estimated to be around 1 B€ and successful proposals are mostly expected to get grants of tens of millions of euros for their projects.
The EU Innovation Fund will support the demonstration of:
- low-carbon technologies and processes in energy intensive industries, including products to substitute carbon-intensive ones
- environmentally safe carbon capture and utilisation and storage of carbon dioxide (CCU and CCS)
- innovative renewable energy and technologies for energy storage
The fund will provide grants up to 60% of the additional capital and operational costs linked to innovation and the first call is targeted for large projects with CAPEX over 7.5 M€. The call is likely to be open for single applicants and consortia.
Long application process calls for thorough planning
Risto anticipates a lot of proposals to be submitted for the first Innovation Fund call and fierce competition. The new instrument has strong demand. He says: “Spinverse has several relevant references in large investment cases and EU funding and we are looking forward to being part of the Innovation Fund application process with our clients.“ Risto continues: “Our existing expertise comes to good use in planning and documenting the investment project and writing the winning proposals. We are also looking forward to helping our clients with structuring the whole investment case funding.
Compared to the other EU funding instruments, the application process for the new Innovation Fund will be exceptionally long. After the first evaluation of the proposals, only some of the projects will be invited to submit a full application in first quarter of 2021. Based on the current schedule, the funded projects could start in the second half of the same year. Although for some this might seem a lengthy time, there is no time to be wasted. Thorough and timely preparation is of highest importance for winning the call.
Do not hesitate to contact our experts at Spinverse if you need more detailed advice on finding your way through the EU funding application process and identifying the right partners to build your collaborative consortium.