There are a number of locations around the world that believe they’re contributing substantially to reducing their carbon footprint and enhancing their green awareness. Many are misguided, but a look around the European Union (EU) shows that plenty of resources are being dedicated to protecting the environment. This can be seen on government, corporate and individual levels – although there are always those who are still too oblivious – and the EU thinks that even more can be done. That’s why it has launched a new plan that is investing €1 billion ($1.12 billion) into companies that can provide innovative clean technology solutions.
The EU’s European Commission (EC) announced last week that it is now accepting proposals for its Innovation Fund, one of the largest initiatives ever launched anywhere to expand the use of low-carbon technologies. The €1 billion comes by way of an auction of emission allowances provided through the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS), and the fund is designed to “finance breakthrough technologies for renewable energy, energy-intensive industries, energy storage, and carbon capture, use and storage.” The EC adds that the initiative will “provide a boost to the green recovery by creating local future-proof jobs, paving the way to climate neutrality and reinforcing European technological leadership on a global scale.”
This first round is just the beginning – the EC plans on allocating around €10 billion ($11.2 billion) over the next decade, with all the money common from ETS-led allowance auctions. The first tranche will go to large-scale projects that introduce green solutions for commercialization and big business, with the money expected to help the new technology be introduced into the market. For additional projects that show possibilities, but which aren’t quite ready to be launched, there is another €8 million ($9.01 million) on hand.
EC Executive VP Frans Timmermans explains, “This call for proposals comes at just the right time. The EU will invest €1 billion in promising, market-ready projects such as clean hydrogen or other low-carbon solutions for energy-intensive industries like steel, cement and chemicals. We will also support energy storage, grid solutions, and carbon capture and storage. These large-scale investments will help restart the EU economy and create a green recovery that leads us to climate neutrality in 2050.”
Anyone from any EU country, Iceland and Norway can participate, and the program is highly flexible. Even projects that are already getting support from governments or EU funding programs can participate. Each project will be scrutinized for its potential to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, its innovativeness, technical level and scaling potential. All applications should be submitted no later than October 20 to the EU Funding and Tenders webpage.