CEF Energy 2022 - Call for Preparatory Studies for Cross-border Renewable Energy Projects

Available Funding: 
€ 1.000.000,00
Description: 

Objective:

The objective of this call is to support preparatory studies as per Article 7(3) of the CEF Regulation, e.g. to develop and identify CB RES projects. Such studies can assist project promoters in selecting the best project concept and setting up the cooperation agreement, allowing for projects to be supported prior to having acquired the official status of a CB RES project (CB RES status).

Please note that proposals under this call cannot combine preparatory studies and technical studies and works. For the technical studies and works separate calls for proposals are launched and a precondition for eligibility is first to receive the ‘status’ of CB RES project.

Scope:

Preparatory studies in the meaning of Article 7(3) of the CEF Regulation allow for support to both EU Member States but also private project promoters in order to advance cooperation ideas, create momentum amongst involved stakeholders and with this generate a pipeline of CB RES projects. They provide specifically support to the project before aquiring the CB RES status.

The purpose of support for preparatory studies is to overcome the obstacles that have in the past prevented cooperation projects from going ahead, such as uncertainty on the allocation of costs and benefits between involved Member States or the additional complexity of setting up cross-border support.

Applications related to preparatory studies must comply with the CEF Regulation and with the specific conditions set out in this call.

Proposals contributing to the development of the future CB RES project generation delivering in any of the RES technologies as defined in article 2 of the RED II directive are eligible.

Projects that contribute to the REPowerEU objectives and the initiatives, announced as part of the REPowerEU plan from May 2022, would be particularly relevant for the call. This is valid for projects that are in line with the EU solar strategy and the European Solar Rooftop Initiative and would contribute to the REPowerEU target of over 320 GW of solar photovoltaic newly installed by 2025 and almost 600 GW by 2030. Relevant would also be projects that accelerate renewable hydrogen as a replacement of natural gas, coal and oil in hard-to-decarbonise industries and transport and contribute to the REPowerEU target of 10 million tonnes of domestic renewable hydrogen production.

A study in the meaning of Article 7(3) can be designed as a pre-feasibility study. The funding can also be used to provide technical, economic or legal support in setting up or advancing cross-border cooperation with the objective to select the best project concept. As part of such a preparatory study, it is possible to cover also some wider system-related aspects, e.g. the integration of additional storage investments, or of transport and/or digital related investments for synergetic elements.

A study can be used to start exploring (mainly through desktop studies) the possible sites in the territory of Member States (and third countries if applicable) in order to determine the hosting and off-taking (contributing) countries, as well as other exploratory tasks needed to assess the overall cost and benefits of the project. It should allow identifying and formalising the underpinning cooperation mechanism and can include related communication and stakeholder involvement activities.

A study may also investigate the best form of support, such as auctioning and tendering set-up as well as all aspects for which national grid, market and other rules differ in the participating Member States and would need to be agreed upon for a CB RES project to go ahead.

Examples of activities, which could be part of studies as per Article 7 (3), include:

  • pre-feasibility studies, used to start exploring (mainly through desktop studies) the possible geographical sites ;
  • exploratory tasks to assess the overall cost and benefits of the project; first evaluation of overall cost and benefits of the project, including cost of energy generation, system integration, cost of support, greenhouse gas emissions, security of supply, air and other local pollution, innovation;
  • analysis of wider system-related aspects e.g. aspects of market and grid integration, grid financing aspects, the integration of additional storage investments, or of transport and/or digital related investments for synergetic elements;
  • identification of possible financing sources, assessing Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) potential;
  • communication and stakeholder involvement activities;
  • cooperation activities between Member States, including the assessment of cost-benefit sharing.

In case the proposal concerns the development of the cooperation activities between Member States, applicants may need to contact the relevant authority of the concerned Member State. Applicants are strongly encouraged to get in touch with the relevant authority as early as possible. Please refer to the CB RES Member States contact points available in the Programme website.

Proposals can be composed of single applicant or based on a consortium. It is not necessary to have participants from all concerned countries in which the project will be implemented. This choice is the remit of applicants, depending on the proposals’ objectives, activities and expected impact.

In line with art. 11 of Regulation (EU) 2021/1153, to be eligible, proposals shall either be submitted by one or more Member States or have the agreement of the Member States concerned as expressed through the letter of support.

Expected Impact:

This call for proposals aims at financing projects contributing to the goals and objectives of the European Green Deal, as well as the Paris Agreement and the 2030 climate and energy targets and the EU's mid-term and long-term objectives in terms of decarbonisation, in accordance with recitals 5 and 30 of the CEF Regulation and in line with the Multi-annual Work Programme.

It is expected that the financial assistance under this call contributes to the further identification and development of the envisaged CB RES projects. Cross-border RES projects are expected to contribute to a cost-effective achievement of renewables target by 2030 in the EU (as referred to in Article 3 of Directive 2018/2001/EC) and to the strategic uptake of renewables technologies and is an integral element of the enabling framework for regional and cross-border cooperation on renewables.

Eligible Applicants: 

In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:

  • be legal entities (public or private bodies)
  • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
    • EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs))
    • non-EU countries:
      • listed EEA countries and countries associated to the CEF Programme or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature (list of participating countries).

Beneficiaries and affiliated entities must register in the Participant Register — before submitting the proposal — and will have to be validated by the Central Validation Service (REA Validation). For the validation, they will be requested to upload documents showing legal status and origin.

Other entities may participate in other consortium roles, such as associated partners, subcontractors, third parties giving in-kind contributions, etc (see section 13).

Specific cases

Exceptional funding — Entities from other countries (not listed above) are exceptionally eligible for projects of common interest in the field of transport, energy and digital and for cross-border projects in the field of renewable energy, if the granting authority considers their participation essential for the implementation of the action.

Natural persons — Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of selfemployed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person).

International organisations — International organisations are eligible. The rules on eligible countries do not apply to them.

Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees for the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons9.

EU bodies — EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium. Countries currently negotiating association agreements — Beneficiaries from countries with ongoing negotiations (see above) may participate in the call and can sign grants if the negotiations are concluded before grant signature (with retroactive effect, if provided in the agreement).

EU restrictive measures — Special rules apply for certain entities (e.g. entities subject to EU restrictive measures under Article 29 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) and Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU)10 and entities covered by Commission Guidelines No 2013/C 205/0511).

Such entities are not eligible to participate in any capacity, including as beneficiaries, affiliated entities, associated partners, subcontractors or recipients of financial support to third parties (if any).

For more information, see Rules for Legal Entity Validation, LEAR Appointment and Financial Capacity Assessment.

Project Length: 

Project duration: up to 24 months (extensions are possible, if duly justified and through an amendment).

For more Information: 

For more information, please consult the European Commission Portal here.

The European Commission held an info day on the 10th of October 2022 in an online format. Recordings and presentation are available here