LONDON (Reuters) - Up to 1.5 billion euros ($1.83 billion) could be available by the end of this year to fund renewable energy and carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects across the European Union bloc, the European Commission said on Thursday.
The funding will be allocated to two to three CCS projects and 16 renewable energy projects on a shortlist of proposals submitted by EU member states to the Commission, it said.
The Don Valley Power Project in the United Kingdom, the Belchatow CCS Project in Poland and the Green Hydrogen project in the Netherlands top the shortlist of eight CCS projects.
Investments in CCS and renewable energy are needed to help the bloc achieve its legally-binding target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, as well as any of its longer-term emissions goals.
"The Commission estimates that co-funding of 1.3-1.5 billion euros could be available for the first call," it said in a statement.
"This would allow some three carbon capture and geological storage projects and up to 16 renewable energy projects to be co-funded," it said.
The money comes from a program that auctions EU carbon permits to market participants taking part in the regional cap-and-trade scheme, with the revenue earmarked for various projects that were submitted in a call for proposals.
The exact amount of funding will depend on how much is raised through the sale of 200 million carbon permits. The sales, which have been carried out by the European Investment Bank since December 2011, will be concluded in October.
The EIB has raised around 1.14 billion euros from the carbon permit sales so far.
But a collapse in carbon prices to record lows over the past year means the permit sales will provide less money for cleaner energy projects than initially planned.
The projects are likely to be supported in more than half of the 27-nation bloc, including a number of countries currently in economic and fiscal difficulty, the Commission said.
Member states will be asked to confirm the projects and national co-funding in early 2012, and the Commission will finalize its funding decisions by the end of the year.
A shortlist of project proposals can be found here: here
($1 = 0.8208 euros)
Reporting by Jeff Coelho; editing by James Jukwey