The EU Commission announced on November 16th, the first call results for the large-scale clean energy projects that will receive a grant of 1.1 billion euros ($1.24 billion). 7 are the projects that will be awarded to “help restart the EU economy and create a green recovery,” after the impact of COVID-19, according to the European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans.
The 7 large-scale green energy projects are also the first investments from the EU’s Innovation fund – the new EU funding for climate action vehicles that first called for applications in 2020. The fund will aim to give away 25 billion euros over the next decade for the development of low-carbon technologies.
The projects that will receive funding are breakthrough technologies positioned in the sectors of renewable energy, hydrogen, energy storage, carbon capture and storage, carbon capture utilization and storage, and energy-intensive industries.
They were reviewed by independent experts and evaluated for their ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional technologies. They are deemed to be a state-of-the-art innovation while being sufficiently mature to enable their quick deployment.
The seven projects awarded are as follows:
- A Swedish project that will eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from steel production by using renewable hydrogen in Gällivare and Oxelösund.
- A project located in Finland that will demonstrate two ways of producing clean hydrogen at a refinery in Porvoo, through renewable energy and by capturing CO2 and permanently storing it in the North Sea.
- A project In France that will capture unavoidable emissions in a cement plant to store one part geologically in the North Sea and the other will integrate into concrete.
- A project in Belgium that will reduce the emissions in the production of hydrogen and chemicals via a complete carbon capture, transport and storage value chain in the Port of Antwerp.
- Another project in Sweden that will create a full-scale bioenergy carbon capture and storage facility at an existing biomass combined heat and power plant in Stockholm.
- A renewable energy initiative in Catania that will develop an industrial-scale pilot line for the manufacture of innovative and high performance photovoltaic cells.
- Another project located in Spain that will convert non-recyclable municipal solid waste in El Morell to methanol – a key basic chemical and low-carbon fuel.
EU Invests $14.7 Billion In Natural Gas Projects
While setting aside considerable funding support for clean energy, EU lawmakers are also about to grant priority status for financing to the EU’s draft list of cross-border energy infrastructure projects – known as projects of common interest (PCI).
The list of projects includes 30 natural gas initiatives that were pre-selected to receive total funding worth €13 billion ($14.70 billion). The funding for natural gas projects came right in the middle of the COP26 conference in Glasgow that aimed to accelerate the transition towards clean energy and move away from fossil fuels altogether.
The European Commission received criticism for including fossil fuels in the new PCI list and thus undermining the Green Deal.
The Commission pushed back on the criticisms, saying that the inclusion of electricity interconnectors and smart grids will be key to helping the energy transition, and some gas projects are still needed as Europe is becoming more reliant on electricity.
According to analysts, 40% of EU funding available for projects on the PCI list has gone to fossil gas since 2013.
Some MEPs have expressed their views to adjust or scrap the list, which has been negotiated with EU countries.
“Dear colleagues, I call on you to reject this list. And Madam Director, I know that there are many pressures from different sides and you’re being lobbied even by [member] states who need to meet their climate objectives, but there are alternatives that are 100% renewable. So let us rise to the challenge and propose a new list,” said Marie Toussaint, a Green MEP.