The EU has agreed that 20% of the EU budget (2014-2020) should be dedicated to climate action. This amount will be mostly invested in mitigation and adaptation actions that will be integrated in all major EU spending programmes6. This budget represents a key milestone in transforming Europe into a clean and competitive low-carbon economy.
Member States of the European Union have implemented a wide range of support schemes under the auspices of the Renewable Energy Directive. These include feed-in tariff regimes and green certificates systems that incentive the generation of electricity from renewable sources. Further details of such schemes are available elsewhere on the Norton Rose Fulbright website.
Outside of Member State support schemes a wide range of support has been made available for renewable energy. This includes:
European Energy Programme for Recovery: This €3.98 billion programme finances key energy projects. So far, the EEPR has helped fund 44 gas and electricity infrastructure projects, 9 offshore wind projects, and 6 carbon capture and storage projects.
European Energy Efficiency Fund (EEE-F): This fund offers financial products such as senior and junior loans, guarantees, or equity participation to energy efficiency investments made by local, regional, and national authorities.
The EU's Research and Innovation Programme Horizon 2020 provides €5.931 billion in funding towards energy projects between 2014 and 2020, including for smart energy networks, tidal power, and energy storage.
The NER 300 programme uses money from the sale of carbon allowances under the EU ETS (see above) to fund demonstration projects for carbon capture and storage (CCS) and renewable energy in Europe. These projects are designed to demonstrate the commercial viability of technologies such as concentrated solar power, smart grids, bioenergy, and post-combustion CCS. So far, €2.2 billion has been awarded to 38 renewable energy projects and 1 CCS project.
The EU established updated rules in guidelines for State aid for environmental protection and have been energy that were adopted in April 2014 and applicable since 1 July 2014 (the Guidelines)7. The Guidelines’ extend the scope of the previous environmental aid guidelines of 2008 to the energy field, including but not limited to state aid to energy infrastructure projects, generation adequacy measures, and energy intensive users.
An important facet of the Guidelines is that they are intended to make the allocation of renewable energy support more market-focussed and competitive. This has meant, for example, that in the UK, projects bid in competitive auctions for the allocation of renewable energy support.