The European Commission yesterday announced the award of €1.2 billion to 23 innovative renewable energy projects under the NER300 funding programme.
But while renewables projects from bioenergy to marine power will be supported by the programme, there was no decision on carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects.
The EC says that the €275 million earmarked for CCS demonstration projects will remain available for the second phase of the programme.
In the meantime, however, the €1.2 billion, which was raised through the sale of 200 million emission allowances from the new entrants' reserve (NER) of the EU Emissions Trading System, for renewables projects is expected to leverage a further €2 billion in private investment for the successful bids.
"[The] decision is a major milestone in EU climate policy," said Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard yestrerday. "The NER300 programme is in effect a 'Robin Hood' mechanism that makes polluters pay for large-scale demonstration of new low-carbon technologies."
The winning projects include biofuels projects in Finland, France, Poland, the Netherlands and Italy, which include the two largest single awards of €199 million and €170 million; three bioenergy projects in Sweden and Germany; four concentrated solar power projects in Cyprus, Greece and Spain; a geothermal demonstration project in Hungary; and six wind developments in Germany, France, Portugal, Sweden and Austria.
The UK was only awarded funds for two marine energy projects, Marine Current Technologies' Kyle Rhea tidal turbine array and ScottishPower's project in the Sound of Islay in Scotland, which receive €18.4 million and €20.7 million, respectively.
UK Energy Minister Greg Barker welcomed the news, commenting:
"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."
The EC statement says that it will now "proceed swiftly" with the second call for proposals, using the residual funds from the first call and revenues from the remaining 100 million allowances in the new' entrants reserve.