As part of the implementation of the new European Union regulation establishing the European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR), investment funds will be available for eligible projects in the fields of energy interconnection, offshore wind energy and carbon capture and storage.

The European Commission has announced a EUR3.98 billion programme of investments in key energy infrastructure projects, and has called for proposals from project promoters.

The investment funds will be available for eligible projects in the fields of energy interconnection, offshore wind energy and carbon capture and storage, as part of the implementation of the new European Union regulation establishing the European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR). By granting financial assistance to energy projects, the EEPR aims to aid economic recovery, to help the European Union to respond to key energy challenges and to strengthen the European Union energy market in terms of security of supply, competitiveness, innovation and the development of renewable energy.

The European Union funding available for the implementation of the EEPR for 2009 and 2010 will be allocated as follows:

  • Gas and electricity interconnection projects: EUR2.365 billion
  • Offshore wind energy projects: EUR565 million
  • Carbon capture and storage projects: EUR1.050 billion

The EEPR regulation identifies projects to be financed under each of the above categories and sets out the criteria for selection and award of grants. The specific projects to be financed are detailed in the Annex of the EEPR regulation.

Proposals may be submitted by various types of applicant, including (amongst others) public or private undertakings and international organisations.

Gas and Electricity Interconnections

Interconnections are the main priority of the EEPR. The selected projects cover gas interconnections (LNG terminals and storage facilities) and electricity interconnections.

Proposed interconnection projects should aim to develop the energy network in support of the operation of an internal European Union energy market and, in particular, solve the problems of cross-border bottlenecks, congestion and missing links. In addition, focus should be placed on interconnection projects which establish energy networks in isolated, peripheral and ultra-peripheral regions of the European Union and which ensure interoperability of networks. In order to promote the diversification of energy sources, and the use of renewable energy sources, the proposed project should facilitate the integration and connection of renewable energy production.

Offshore Wind Energy

Under the EEPR, grants for offshore wind energy will be directed towards large-scale projects with cross-border significance, which aim to supply clean, reliable, indigenous electricity to meet future demand in the European Union. In order to harvest the benefit from high wind resources while reducing visual impact, proposed projects are expected to be located in deep waters and far from shorelines. Projects should focus on increasing the size of turbine capacity, developing innovative systems (including efficient manufacturing and faster installation processes) and the grid integration of offshore wind energy.

Carbon Capture and Storage

The EEPR aims to promote the application of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in commercial, large scale power generation and industrial installations. The proposed CCS project should relate to commercial-scale power plants or industrial installations using fossil fuels, and should aim at near-zero emissions through high-efficiency conversion technologies coupled with CO2 capture, transport and safe geological storage.

Projects which receive European Union funding are expected to join a network of CCS demonstration projects which will be set up by the European Commission, and to share experience and non-proprietary knowledge.

Selection and Award Criteria

The evaluation of eligible proposed projects will be carried out by an EU Evaluation Committee, assisted by external experts. The key selection and award criteria are set out in the call for proposals .

Timeline for submissions

Closing date for submission of applications - 15 July 2009

Date of opening of applications - 23 July 2009

Estimated date for Report on Evaluation by Evaluation Committee - 15 September 2009

Estimated date to start contract negotiations - September – October 2009

Estimated date of notification of results to applicants - October – November 2009

Estimated date for signature of contracts/decisions - End 2009/ Beginning 2010