Clean technology projects line up bids for $1 billion EU support

(Reuters) - Clean technology projects are readying bids for a billion-euro support package from the European Union under a flagship scheme for funding breakthrough low-carbon technologies.

FILE PHOTO: European Commission vice-president in charge of European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, speaks during a news conference on Green and Just Recovery at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium May 28, 2020.Aris Oikonomou/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

The EU Innovation Fund will support projects such as floating wind farms, carbon capture mechanisms and energy storage, all of which could help clean up sectors such as cement and steelmaking.

“These large-scale investments will help restart the EU economy and create a green recovery that leads us to climate neutrality in 2050,” EU climate chief Frans Timmermans said.

The European Commission on Friday invited projects to bid for 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in grants from the fund, which is fed by EU carbon market revenues.

Further funding will follow over the next decade. The fund’s size will depend on the EU carbon price. At current prices, it would be worth roughly 12 billion euros.

Spain-based renewable energy giant Iberdrola IBE.MC told Reuters it was working on submitting various projects.

These include generating hydrogen from renewable sources and energy storage systems that help integrate renewables into the grid, Chief Innovation and Sustainability Officer Agustin Delgado told Reuters.

Waste-to-energy company Fortum Oslo Varme told Reuters it would apply for funds to install carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology at its facility in Oslo, Norway, if the project does not secure enough support from the Norwegian government.

The cost of using CCS to reduce emissions is substantially higher than the price EU companies pay for their CO2 emissions, said, Jannicke Bjerkas, the company’s CCS director.

“The Innovation Fund will be crucial to help close the gap when developing these early-phase projects,” she said.

The 4.3 billion Norwegian crown ($453 million) project, which is part of a bigger 13.1 billion crown CCS initiative, aims to capture 90% of the waste-to-energy facility’s emissions, roughly 400,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.

In a letter to Fortum Oslo Varme in May, seen by Reuters, the Norwegian government said state support was not guaranteed and encouraged the project to apply to the EU Innovation Fund.

Reporting by Kate Abnett, additional reporting by Isla Binnie, editing by Marine Strauss and Mark Potter