European City Facility: Support local authorities in developing investment concepts for sustainable energy

EU funding opportunities

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On 9 June, the fourth and final call for proposals of the European City Facility (EUCF) opened. This instrument was created in 2019 under Horizon 2020 to help European municipalities and local authorities develop Investment Concepts to implement the actions contained in their climate and energy action plans.

Municipalities and their associations have great potential to build global investment programs in the sustainable energy sector and guide the transition to energy sustainability. The EUCF has been designed as a support to overcome two important obstacles namely:

– the reduced financial and/or legal capacity of local authorities, which limits their ability to transform their long-term energy and climate strategies (SEAP and SECAP) into sound investments;

– the reduced capacity for aggregation between small projects (e.g. in the construction sector) and therefore their unattractiveness for the financial sector.

The definition of Investment concepts refers to a document that translates an idea of investment project into financial language, with the aim to mobilize fundings for its realization. Its purpose is to provide investors and financial institutions with the information they need to evaluate an investment project quickly and easily and turn climate and energy plans into robust investment packages, thus facilitating access to funding for municipalities and local authorities and their aggregations.

The call is addressed to all municipalities/local authorities, their groupings and the local public authorities that bring them together, from all eligible States (EU Member States, EFTA/EEA States and the United Kingdom) that:

  • have an approved climate and energy plan (including the Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs) developed under the Covenant of Mayors, and other plans with the same ambition),
  • demonstrate a political commitment to the development of the proposed investment concept (e.g. through a letter of support, signed by the mayor/other political representative).

The financial contribution is up to 60,000 euros to support the design of investment concepts in the sustainable energy sector, including those on the energy demand side, which contribute to improve energy efficiency and achieve energy savings. The grant amount may be used for internal staff, for external experts/subcontractors or for other positions necessary for the development of the investment concept.

Priority target areas: residential and tertiary (non-municipal) public buildings, improving the efficiency of equipment/installations, development and use of integrated renewable energy in buildings, modernisation of district heating or switching to renewable sources for fuel, smart grids, sustainable urban mobility (e.g. public transport, charging stations, etc.) and innovative energy infrastructure (e.g. citizens’ energy communities, innovative approaches to public lighting, wastewater treatment plants).

Projects in other sectors can also be carried out, but they need to address the topic of sustainable energy and demonstrate energy savings.

The fourth and final call has a budget of 2.88 million euros, which will finance the last 48 proposals on this instrument, divided into 3 geographical areas:

– Central Europe: 1.32 million

– Northern and Western European countries: 0.54 million

– Southern Europe: 1.02 million (17 proposals to be financed)

The call will remain open until 30 September 2022.

A proposer cannot obtain more than one grant on this instrument (entities that have already obtained funding on previous calls cannot apply for this call).

Detailed information and documentation to participate can be found here.

Written by: Margherita Genua

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