CCS gets second chance with relaunch of EU funding
The European Commission has launched a second call for proposals under its NER300 investment programme for low-carbon technologies.
The funding is aimed at promoting the commercial demonstration of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) innovative renewable energy (RES) technologies.
Under the first call in 2011, €1.2bn (£1bn) funding was awarded to 23 renewable energy projects in 16 Member States and it is hoped that this funding will leverage a further €2bn of private investment.
However, while six wind energy projects were granted €273m in total, no CCS projects qualified for funding as government's across Europe failed to provide match-funding guarantees.
There is also a concern that because the funding will come from the sale of 100 million allowances from the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), the value of which dropped to record lows in January, the amount of funding available will be significantly lower than previous estimates.
Despite this, European Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard remained positive, insisting that the second call for proposals was a genuine opportunity for CCS technologies to access funding.
She said: "With today's launch, the EU is continuing its strong support for European businesses which are developing the technologies required to tackle climate change. The overwhelming response to the first call showed that EU businesses have the know-how and the ambition to lead the low-carbon transition.
"This second round offers all CCS and innovative renewable energy technologies a new chance of applying for funding, including those that were not awarded funding in the previous round. We hope to have a full range of low-carbon projects operational by 2018."
The European Wind Energy Association also argued that the investment was a good opportunity for its members despite warning that an early deadline of July 3, meant that companies had to "move fast" in order to secure support from national governments.