Today the Commission is opening a call for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to help finance key EU energy infrastructure projects. €200 million will be made available for projects aiming to eliminate bottlenecks that prevent the free flow of energy across EU countries.
Once finalised, these projects will contribute towards the completion of an EU internal energy market and the creation of a resilient Energy Union. This EU money is expected to act as a catalyst to speed up the implementation of the projects and attract investment from the private and public sectors.
With a total of €800 million available for grants in 2016, this is the first of two calls planned for this year. The deadline to submit applications is 28 April 2016. An info day for project promoters will be organised on 7 April. A decision on the selection of proposals to be funded is expected to be announced by the end of July.
EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: "With this call for proposals we are actively investing EU money where it is most needed and where it will bring most gains. With the necessary investments, EU consumers will be able to enjoy the benefits of a modern, reliable and sustainable EU-wide energy system. A fully functioning energy market with well-connected energy networks is an essential building block for the Energy Union."
In order to apply for a grant, a proposed project must feature on the list of 'projects of common interest'. An updated list was published in November 2015. It consists of 195 key energy infrastructure projects which are considered essential to completing the EU's internal energy market, boosting competition and contributing to the EU's energy and climate goals. When completed, each project should deliver significant benefits for at least two Member States.
EU financing for energy infrastructure under the CEF is €5.35 billion for the 2014-2020 period. The grants will contribute to carrying out both studies and construction works. However, proposals for works can only receive grants if the project will deliver significant benefits in a macro-regional context, such as security of supply, solidarity between Member States or innovation, while not being commercially viable.
The amount of EU support cannot exceed 50% of the eligible costs. If support is attributed to works, and only in exceptional cases when a project contributes significantly to the security of supply, enhances energy solidarity between Member States or offers highly innovative solutions, EU support may be increased to a maximum of 75% of the costs.
The first call for proposals under CEF Energy was organised in 2014 and €647 million was allocated to 34 proposals for grants for studies or works. Under the 2015 CEF calls, €366 million was allocated and 35 proposals were selected to receive grants.
Connecting Europe Facility Regulation (Regulation 1316/2013)
Guidelines on conditions under which projects are eligible for funding (Regulation 347/2013)