The European Commission seeks stakeholders’ feedback until 18 November on its proposal to define cross-border projects in the field of renewable energy generation that would be eligible to receive EU funding under Connecting European Facility instrument.

In July 2021, the European Union adopted its Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) program for the period 2021-2027 worth EUR 33.71 billion to fund the development of high-performing infrastructures in the transport, energy and digital sectors.

Out of the CEF program devoted to energy (EUR 5.83 billion), 15% (EUR 875 million) is earmarked for a new category of eligible projects, namely ‘cross-border projects in the field of renewable energy’, including for instance the generation of renewable energy from on- and offshore wind, solar energy, sustainable biomass, ocean energy, geothermal energy, or combinations thereof, their connection to the grid and additional elements such as storage or conversion facilities.

The Commission is now consulting stakeholders on its draft delegated act aiming at laying down the specific selection criteria and selection procedure of cross-border projects in the field of renewable energy. The consultation closes on 18 November, at midnight.

The proposed procedure may be seen as a fastidious process without guarantee for promoters that their selected projects will be funded under the CEF. In this respect, the Commission stresses that a promoter may wish to apply for the status of cross-border project in the field of renewable energy but not for CEF funding. That status must indeed be seen as a ‘quality label’ of a project, allowing promoters to obtain appropriate financing on the market, or from Member States. In this context, the CINEA (European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency) has already launched a call for proposals open until 30 November 2021 and is making available EUR 1 million to support preparatory studies for projects before they are included in the Union list of cross-border renewable energy projects.

Companies who plan to develop cross-border projects in the field of renewable energy within the EU may wish to give their views to the Commission on the selection criteria and the selection process. They may also envisage applying for grants for their studies to identify and develop such projects.

Covington has a dedicated team with significant experience to help you structure your EU energy projects, from an early stage. We can help you draft a response to the consultation – something we do frequently on a range of issues – and later, design your project and its funding under CEF, EU State aid law, energy regulation, public contracting and project finance. Our team includes Carole Maczkovics, who has cutting-edge expertise in State aid law, regulation and public contracts, particularly in the energy sector, and Cándido García Molyneux, who has deep knowledge of EU requirements on renewable energies and helps clients influence EU legislation and guidance. Visit our website to learn more about our Energy and Project Development and Finance teams.