Sustainability

No winner found in EC’s CCS competition

wind turbines

The European Commission (EC) has today (18 December), announced funding allocations for its NER300 funding programme, the world’s largest fund for ‘innovative low-carbon energy demonstration projects’.

Set up in order to ‘act as a catalyst for the demonstration of environmentally safe carbon capture and storage (CCS) and innovative renewable energy sources (RES) technologies on a commercial scale’, money used for the fund would cover up to 50 per cent of the 'relevant costs' of individual projects (with the remainder covered by private investment and/or additional national funding).

RES

Over €1.2 billion of funding has today been awarded to 23 renewable energy projects under the first call for proposals for the NER300 programme.

These include projects covering bioenergy (including advanced biofuels), concentrated solar power, geothermal power, wind, ocean energy and distributed renewable management (smart grids). The Netherlands received the bulk of the funding, with Woodspirit's bioenergy project receiving €199 million.

It is hoped that once running, these projects will increase annual renewable energy production in Europe by 10 terawatt hours (TWh), equivalent to the annual fuel consumption of more than a million cars.

Climate Action Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, announced the funding today, saying: "This year Christmas has come early - today's decision is a major milestone in EU climate policy.

“The NER300 programme is in effect a 'Robin Hood' mechanism that makes polluters pay for large-scale demonstration of new low-carbon technologies. The €1.2 billion of grants – paid by the polluters - will leverage a further €2 billion of private investment in the 23 selected low-carbon demonstration projects.

“This will help the EU keep its frontrunner position on renewables and create jobs here and now, in the EU."

Projects will be co-financed with revenues obtained from the sale of 200 million emission allowances from the new entrants' reserve (NER) of the EU Emissions Trading System.

List of projects awarded funding:

RES Category

Project

Member State

Maximum NER300 funding (MEUR)

Bioenergy (advanced biofuels)

Ajos BTL

Finland

88.5

Bioenergy (advanced biofuels)

BEST

Italy

28.4

Bioenergy (advanced biofuels)

CEG Plant Goswinowice

Poland

30.9

Bioenergy (advanced biofuels

UPM Stracel BTL

France

170.0

Bioenergy (advanced biofuels)

Woodspirit

Netherlands

199.0

Bioenergy

Gobigas phase 2

Sweden

58.8

Bioenergy

Pyrogrot

Sweden

31.4

Bioenergy

Verbiostraw

Germany

22.3

Concentrated Solar Power

HeliosPower

Cyprus

46.6

Concentrated Solar Power

Maximus

Greece

44.6

Concentrated Solar Power

Minos

Greece

42.1

Concentrated Solar Power

PTC50-Alvarado

Spain

70.0

Distributed Renewable Management (smart grids)

SLim

Belgium

8.2

Geothermal

South Hungarian Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) Demonstration

Hungary

39.3

Ocean

Kyle Rhea Tidal Turbine Array

United Kingdom

18.4

Ocean

Sound of Islay

United Kingdom

20.7

Ocean

Westwave

Ireland

19.8

Wind

Innogy

Germany

70.0

Wind

Veja Mate

Germany

112.6

Wind

Vertimed

France

34.3

Wind

Windfloat

Portugal

30.0

Wind

Windpark Blaiken

Sweden

15.0

Wind

Windpark Handalm

Austria

11.3

Of the 23 projects awarded funding, two are in the United Kingdom.

Marine energy companies Siemens Marine Current Turbines (MCT) and Scottish Power Renewables (SPR) both saw their projects receive funding, with MCT’s Kyle Rhea Tidal Turbine Array receiving €18.4 million and SPR’s Sound of Islay Demonstration Tidal Array receiving €20.7 million.

Siemens MCT has released a statement saying that it ‘welcomes’ the award of NER 300 to the Kyle Rhea project. A spokesperson for MCT said: “Whilst we do need some time to assess the award, our initial reaction is that this is positive news for the growth of the marine energy industry.”

Energy and Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker said: “European funding for Scottish Power Renewables and Marine Current Turbines’ tidal projects is great news for the UK’s marine energy sector and further underpins the UK’s position as a world leader in this source of clean green power.

“This new investment is a fantastic opportunity for these projects to demonstrate the future potential of marine energy and I am delighted that two UK firms have the chance to take advantage of this funding and drive forward further development of tidal technologies.”

It is hoped that collectively, the 23 award-winning projects will engage ‘several thousands of full-time workers during the construction phase’ over the next three to four years and once operations, see one thousand full-time workers ‘engaged for the next 15-20 years to keep the installations running’.

CCS

However, no CCS projects have been awarded funding under today’s announcement, as according to the EC, ‘most CCS projects put forward were not confirmed by the member states concerned’.

Carbon capture and storage utilises technology whereby carbon dioxide (CO2) is trapped and pumped into underground geological formations or the ocean in an attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The ‘CCS Commercialisation Programme’ competition, which opened to competitors between April and July of this year, is part of the government’s CCS Roadmap, which aims to increase the use of the technology in the UK.

According to the EC, no CCS projects were awarded funding as member states were unable to confirm the projects for various reasons including ‘funding gaps’ and problems with projects not being ‘sufficiently advanced to allow for confirmation within the timeframe of the first call for proposals’.

Four UK bidders had been shortlisted for the next phase of the UK’s £1bn Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) competition, however these will not be receiving funding.

The €275 million envisaged for CCS projects in the first call will now be available to fund projects under the second phase of the NER300 programme. The Commission has said it will ‘proceed swiftly’ with the implementation of the second call for propsals.

The NER300 funding programme is implemented by the EC with the collaboration of the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Funding will be made available on an annual basis, based on proven performance (the amount of green energy produced) and the ‘meeting of knowledge-sharing requirements’.

Read more about NER300.