The European Commission (the “Commission”) and the European Investment Bank (the “EIB”) have pledged to invest approximately €220 million in a new energy efficiency fund which is part of the proposed European Union’s European Energy Efficiency Facility (the “EEE-F”). This is to be set up by the end of March 2011.

Environment projects are too to benefit from recently announced €267 million which is being made available as part of the LIFE+2011 call for proposals.

EEE-F

The Council of Ministers and the EU Parliament agreed in December 2010 to allocate approximately €146 million from the European Energy Programme for Recovery (“EEPR”) towards the new EEE-F dedicated to sustainable energy. This EU contribution comes from unallocated funds mobilised for the EEPR in 2009. This funding forms part of the wider EU transition to a more energy efficient and low carbon economy (see our recent lawnow “The EU’s Roadmap to a competitive low carbon economy”

The EEE-F is expected to be launched in the second quarter of 2011 and take the form of an investment fund complemented by technical assistance and awareness raising. The initial fund is likely to be in the region of €220 million. It is envisaged that the Commission will contribute around €146 million to the facility, of which €125 million will be allocated to the EEE-F and €20 million will be assigned to technical assistance. €75 million is expected to be invested by the EIB. The fund could be higher if other investors join.

Who will benefit from EEE-F?

It is intended that potential beneficiaries will be public authorities, public and private companies which are acting on behalf of those public authorities; these would include energy utilities, energy service companies, district heating combined heat and power companies and public transport providers.

EEE-F fund period

The funds will be allocated to investment projects, project development services and technical assistance during the three year period 1st April 2011 to 31st March 2014.

EEE-F eligibility?

It is understood that the EEE-F will invest in energy saving, energy efficiency and clean energy projects, particularly in urban areas. Qualifying energy investments would include energy saving measures in public and private buildings; investments in high efficient combined heat and power (including micro-cogeneration and district heating/cooling networks); investment in decentralised clean energy sources; clean urban transport; the modernisation of infrastructure, such as street lighting and smart grids, as well as investment in sustainable energies with a potential for innovation and growth.

Full details of how to apply for funding will be made available once the EEE-F is operational.

LIFE+2011 call for proposals

Recently, the Commission launched its annual call for proposals to be funded under the LIFE+ programme. LIFE+ is a European financial instrument for environment works and has a total budget of €2.143 billion for the period 2007-2013. One call is launched per year. Proposals are welcome under one of the programme’s three components: Nature and Biodiversity, Environment Policy and Governance, and Information and Communication. A total of €267 million is available under the LIFE+2011 call, in the form of co-funding for grant agreements. The call is open until 15 July 2011. Projects financed by LIFE+ must be of EU interest; make a significant contribution to the achievement of the general objective of LIFE+; be technically and financially coherent and feasible; and provide value for money.

Further information on how to apply is available here