On 5 March 2015, the Commission opened the call for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility (“CEF”) for projects to compete for a share of the €100 million set aside to help end energy isolation within Europe. The aim of a fully interconnected energy market is top on the priority list for the Juncker Commission and this call for proposals follows the Energy Union strategy adopted on 25 February 2015. With a total of €650 million for grants foreseen in 2015, this is the first of two calls planned for 2015.

To apply for a grant, a project has to be on the list of 'Projects of Common Interest' adopted by the European Commission in accordance with Regulation (EU) no 347/2013 on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure. Further, such projects should be aimed at ending energy isolation and eliminating energy bottlenecks in order to complete the European energy market.

The support that the EU can give to these projects is limited. For the majority of projects the support cannot exceed 50% of the eligible costs for both the studies and works. This cap may be exceeded up to 75% but only in exceptional cases when a project contributes significantly to the Energy Union’s objectives.

The deadline for applications is 29 April 2015. A decision on the selection of proposals to be funded is expected for mid-July

CEF – Background information

EU financing for energy infrastructure under CEF is €5.85 billion for the period 2014-2020. The bulk of this money will go to grants contributing to carrying out both studies and works. 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.

On 16 March 2015, the European Commission's Directorate-General for Energy and the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency will organise an Info Day in Brussels to give more information about the funding opportunities and how to apply for a CEF grant.