The funding will be used to demonstrate technologies that will subsequently help to scale-up production from renewable energy sources across the EU as well as those that can remove and store carbon emissions. The projects awarded co-financing today cover a range of technologies - bioenergy, concentrated solar power, geothermal power, photovoltaics, wind power, ocean energy, smart grids and, for the first time, carbon capture and storage (CCS).
Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action, said: "With these first-of-a-kind projects, we will help protect the climate and make Europe less energy dependent. The €1 billion we are awarding today will leverage some additional €900 million of private investment. So that is almost €2 billion of investment in climate-friendly technologies here in Europe. This is a contribution to reducing Europe's energy bill of more than €1 billion per day that we pay for our imported fossil fuels."
Boosting green growth and jobs
The selected projects announced today will increase the annual EU renewable energy production by almost 8 terawatt hours (TWh). This energy amount corresponds to the combined annual electricity consumption of Cyprus and Malta. The CCS project will capture 1.8 million tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to taking over a million cars off the roads. Together with the 20 projects from the first call, NER 300 projects will also create several thousand jobs during the construction and operation phase.
Today's award supports the first NER 300 trans-boundary project which will build a geothermal plant across the French-German border near Strasbourg to produce electricity and heat. It also funds the development of a geothermal power plant in Croatia, the EU's newest Member State.
NER300 funding is also being awarded to the first example of a large-scale CCS project in the EU. The UK-based project will use oxyfuel technology to capture 90% of the CO2 produced by burning coal at the Drax power plant near Selby in Yorkshire, and will store it safely in an offshore storage site in the North Sea. This technology could be easily applied in existing coal-fired plants. Funding is also provided to the first NER300 photovoltaic project, located in Portugal.
Ocean energy and bioenergy receive considerable support, as under the first call, with nine more projects funded. The NER 300 is currently the main EU support for ocean energy, non-food based bioenergy and advanced biofuels.
The 19 projects will be hosted in 12 EU Member States: Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, France, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
The NER 300 programme is so-called because it is funded from the sale of 300 million emission allowances from the new entrants' reserve (NER) set up for the third phase of the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS).
In its recent Communication: 'A policy framework for climate and energy in the period from 2020 to 2030', the Commission outlines the possibility of exploring an expanded NER 300 system in the post-2020 climate and energy framework. This could be a means of directing further revenues from the EU Emissions Trading System towards the demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies in the industry and power generation sectors.
A public consultation which explores these issues is currently open for contributions at http://ec.europa.eu/clima/consultations/articles/0023_en.htm