European Funds for local Climate Protection
Main funding opportunities at the European level are presented below. A more detailed version can be downloaded here (pdf, 100 KB).
Intelligent Energy Europe programme (IEE)
The IEE programme is a pillar of the EU's Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP). It has become the main EU instrument to tackle non-technological barriers to the spread of efficient use of energy and greater use of new and renewable energy sources. A budget of € 730 million is available from 2007-2013 to fund projects and put into place a range of European facilities and initiatives.
IEE - Project Funding
The majority of the IEE budget is made available through annual calls for proposals to support projects putting the concept of 'intelligent energy' in practice. The priorities are on energy efficiency (SAVE), energy use in transport (STEER), renewable energy sources (ALTERNER). Integrated Initiatives combine several of the specific fields referred to SAVE, ALTENER and STEER.
IEE - Project Development Assistance (PDA) facilities
The PDA facilities support the preparation and mobilisation of financing for bankable sustainable energy projects. The PDA facilities cover a share of the cost for technical support that is necessary to prepare, implement and finance the investment programme. The actions featured in the municipalities’ action plans and investment programmes must be financed through other means, such as loans, ESCOs or structural funds. Find more details in the pdf file above.
Mobilising Local Energy Investments – Project Development Assistance (MLEI-PDA)
The MLEI-PDA facility offers technical assistance to launch investment projects and programmes. The purpose of MLEI-PDA is to help small and medium-sized local and regional authorities or their groupings to develop projects or packages of sustainable energy projects which are of relevance for the local/regional territorial development and considered to be "bankable" scale by financing institutions and/or suitable for grant funding by EU financing schemes such as the cohesion and structural funds.
The EIB-ELENA has been created at the initiative of the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB). The facility also supports the Covenant of Mayors initiative, but is not restricted to entities having signed it. The general objective of EIB-ELENA is to assist the transition from preparing action plans to making large scale investments, usually higher than € 50 million.
Since 2011, the KfW-ELENA offers a complementary approach to the existing ELENA in order to mobilise sustainable investments of small and medium sized municipalities and, where appropriate, Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) below € 50 million.
This facility, contrary to the other ELENA facilities, supports only energy efficiency or renewable energy projects that benefit disadvantaged regions or populations. CEB-ELENA subsidises the technical assistance that public entities need to prepare and implement such projects.
The LIFE+ is an EU’s funding instrument directed exclusively for the environment. The European Commission launches one call for LIFE+ project proposals per year. Proposals must be eligible under one of the programme’s three components: LIFE+ Nature and Biodiversity, LIFE+ Environment Policy and Governance, and LIFE+ Information and Communication.
Smart Cities and Communities initiative (7th Research Framework Programme)
The Smart Cities initiative supports a limited number of fairly large cities and regions taking pioneering measures to progress towards ambitious climate goals through sustainable use and production of energy. Following type of projects could be co-financed: Smart buildings and neighbourhood projects, smart supply and demand service projects, urban mobility projects, and smart and sustainable digital infrastructures. The call 2012 is open only to industry led-consortia which operate within the three sectors: energy, transport and ICT policy.
European Energy Efficiency Fund (EEE-F)
The EEE-F, operated by the designated investment manager Deutsche Bank, provides financing for commercially viable public energy efficiency and renewable energy projects within the EU at municipal and local level. The fund will cover a large range of financial products such as senior and junior loans, guarantees or equity participation.
The fund was established in 2011 as a new sustainable energy facility by the European Parliament and Council of Ministers to use the unspent funds from the European Energy Recovery Programme. It targets the substantial potential for energy efficiency and small scale renewable energy in the EU public sector.
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
The ERDF of the EU Structural Funds can finance a palette of investments, and it is largely up to the eligible regions to decide on the focus of the programmes. It aims to strengthen economic, social and territorial cohesion in the European Union by reducing inequalities and supporting territorial co-operation between its regions. The Community initiative INTERREG aiming at stimulate cooperation between member states in the EU at different levels is financed under the ERDF.
Transnational Cooperation: INTERREG IV B
INTERREG IV B is part of the European Territorial Cooperation Objective of the Structural Fund policies for the period 2007-2013. Overall, there are 13 programmes (zones) supporting trans-national cooperation. Each programme defines its own priorities, eligible actions, beneficiaries, budget, co-financing rates etc. Although the priorities are defined individually in each programme, objectives related to climate protection are part of the most priorities.
Interregional Cooperation: INTERREG IV C
INTERREG IV C is composed of two programme priorities: innovation & the knowledge economy, and environment & risk prevention. A project builds on the exchange of experiences among partners who are ideally responsible for the development of their local and regional policies. Measures like development and testing of tools and methodologies improving local and regional policies, networking with the local actors, awareness raising and education campaigns are supported by the programme.
URBACT II programme
As part of Europe’s Cohesion policy, the URBACT II programme brings together actors at local and regional level to exchange experience and to facilitate learning on sustainable urban development. Almost 80% of the total budget is contributed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas (JESSICA) has been created in order to support integrated, sustainable urban-renewal projects. The enabling framework is provided by regulations allowing Member States to use some of their Structural Fund allocations to take advantage of financial engineering mechanisms to support sustainable investment in integrated urban transformation schemes.
The Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020
The European Commission has made the proposal for the next funding period. The overall amount proposed for the next seven years is € 1,033 billion in commitments and € 988 billion in payments.
The proposal puts emphasis on climate policy. Mainstreaming climate into the new budget is one of the new principles introduced by the Commission. The Commission also suggests to allocate € 3.2 billion to a new Programme for the Environment and Climate Action (LIFE). The new LIFE Programme will have two sub-programmes: one for Environment and one for Climate Action. The creation of a sub-programme for Climate Action upgrades the former thematic strand "climate change" under the LIFE+ Environment Policy and Governance component. It will cover the areas of: climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation and climate governance and information.