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Call key data

Crowding in private finance

Funding Program

LIFE - sub-programme “Clean Energy Transition”

Call number




16.11.2023 17:00

Funding rate


Call budget

€ 6,500,000.00

Estimated EU contribution per project

€ 1,500,000.00

Link to the call

Link to the submission

Call content

short description

The topic aims to increase the amount of private finance allocated to energy efficiency and small-scale renewable energy sources by establishing innovative financing schemes for investments in sustainable energy and/or engaging with financial institutions to develop financial products and adapt their investment practices.

Call objectives

Significant investments in energy efficiency and small-scale renewables need to be mobilised to achieve the ambition set by the European Green Deal and the objective to reduce EU dependence on fossil fuels imports set out in the REPowerEU Plan. The only way to deliver the necessary level of investments is to progressively maximise the mobilisation of private capital, using public funds as a catalyst and an enabling regulatory framework. This has been at the heart of the works of the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG) and will remain a central objective of the upcoming High-Level European Energy Efficiency Financing Coalition. In addition, the Energy Efficiency Directive as proposed for revision provides that Member States facilitate the implementation of innovative financing schemes for energy efficiency and promote energy efficiency financial products. Moreover, National Energy and Climate Plans provide a solid framework for Member States to evaluate and report on investment needs and gaps to achieve their 2030 national energy and climate targets, including regarding the mobilisation of private investments.

While significant public sector expenditure is allocated to leverage private finance for energy efficiency and small-scale renewables (e.g. through the InvestEU facility), most private investors still view this type of investments as risky, complex and/or insufficiently profitable. This is due to the limited availability of investment opportunities which comply with the requirements of financial institutions in terms of size, scale, standardisation and transaction costs. There is a need to set up and roll-out private financing schemes which can be expanded and/or replicated at scale, and contribute to the national strategies to achieve the 2030 energy efficiency targets and the building renovation policy objectives. These schemes have to be adapted to the specificities of energy efficiency investment profiles, as well as those of small-scale renewables, in buildings, SMEs, district heating and other relevant sectors.

In parallel, there is a need to engage with financial institutions in order to change their approach to energy efficiency. Work is needed at the strategic level, in particular in relation to the EU’s sustainable finance policy and how energy efficiency can impact the sustainability and risk profiles of portfolios. At the operational level, there is a need to build capacity across the whole private finance value chain, from retail banking to capital markets, in order to adapt financial products and develop the market.

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Expected effects and impacts

Proposals should present the concrete results which will be delivered by the activities, and demonstrate how these results will contribute to the topic-specific impacts. This demonstration should include a detailed analysis of the starting point and a set of well-substantiated assumptions, and establish clear causality links between the results and the expected impacts.

Proposals submitted under scope A should demonstrate how they will contribute to deliver adequately tailored innovative financing schemes that are operational and ready to finance investments, and the impact that this will have on investments in energy efficiency and small-scale renewables.

Proposals submitted under scope B should demonstrate how their proposed results will contribute to, depending on the focus of the activities: enhanced capacity and appetite of private financial institutions to invest in energy efficiency and small-scale renewable energy sources; adoption of new approaches, tools, labels and certification schemes; enhanced access to data related to financial and energy performance; evolutions in the regulatory and supervisory frameworks; easier identification of the alignment of sustainable energy investments to the criteria of the EU taxonomy of sustainable activities.

Proposals under both scopes should quantify their results and impacts using the indicators provided for the topic, when they are relevant for the proposed activities. They should also propose indicators which are specific to the proposed activities. Proposals are not expected to address all the listed impacts and indicators. The results and impacts should be quantified for the end of the project and for 5 years after the end of the project.

The indicators for this topic include:

For scope A:

  • Number of investors and project developers using the financing scheme.
  • Number of investment projects processed/covered by the financing scheme.
  • Volume of investments processed/covered by the financing scheme.
  • Number of households and businesses benefitting from the financing scheme.
  • Investments in sustainable energy (energy efficiency and renewables) triggered by the project (cumulative, in million Euro).
  • Investments in building energy renovation triggered by the project (cumulative, in million Euro).
  • Average % of energy savings targeted by investment projects.

For scope B:

  • Number of financial institutions using the developed financial products/tools.
  • Number of investment projects processed/covered by the developed financial products/tools.
  • Volume of investments covered by the developed financial products/tools.
  • Number of households and businesses benefitting from the financial products.
  • Number of private finance stakeholders, and related investment portfolios, integrating the results of the project in their work.
  • Number of private finance stakeholders benefitting from enhanced capacity.
  • Number of policy makers, regulatory bodies and supervisory authorities benefitting from support on sustainable energy policies.
  • Investments in sustainable energy (energy efficiency and renewables) triggered by the project (cumulative, in million Euro).
  • Investments in building energy renovation triggered by the project (cumulative, in million Euro).

Proposals should also quantify their impacts related to the following common indicators for the LIFE Clean Energy Transition subprogramme:

  • Investments in sustainable energy (energy efficiency and renewables) triggered by the project (cumulative, in million Euro) – where not covered as topic specific indicator.
  • Primary energy savings triggered by the project (in GWh/year).
  • Renewable energy generation triggered by the project (in GWh/year).
  • Reduction of greenhouse gases emissions (in tCO2-eq/year).

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Expected results

Proposals should clearly focus on tailored, market-oriented solutions to crowd in private finance at scale for sustainable energy investments, understood as investments in energy efficiency and/or small-scale renewable energy sources and storage.

Proposals are expected to focus on one of the two scopes below. The scope addressed should be specified in the introduction of the proposal.

Scope A: Innovative financing schemes

Proposals should set-up innovative financing schemes leveraging private finance for sustainable energy investments, with a dedicated and clear focus on energy efficiency, in at least 1 eligible country with a clear ambition and effort towards expansion in additional eligible countries. The financing scheme should be operational by the end of the project, whereas the related investments may be implemented after project completion.

The financing schemes can involve, for example but not limited to:

  • Equity, debt, mezzanine financing, potentially combined with non-reimbursable grants (“blending”).
  • Guarantees, risk-sharing, insurances or other de-risking instruments.
  • Energy services such as energy performance contracting and variants thereof, if used to finance the investments.
  • On-bill, on-tax and building-based financing, where the debt is attached to the energy meter or the building rather than the household or company.
  • Schemes complementing, with a dedicated financing component, already existing local and regional technical assistance facilities, in particular integrated home renovation services.
  • Schemes targeting the secondary market, including refinancing mechanisms, specialised securitisation vehicles and green bond schemes.
  • Local investment structures, including citizen financing (e.g. crowdfunding) for energy efficiency.
  • Market-based instruments relevant for sustainable energy (e.g. carbon finance instruments, energy efficiency obligations, etc.).
  • Brokering, aggregation or clearing houses, which facilitate matching of demand and supply of sustainable energy finance.

Proposals should take into account all the following elements:

  • Establish an innovative, operational financing scheme for energy efficiency and/or integrated renewables in at least 1 eligible country. Proposals can build on and/or upscale innovative financing schemes successfully tested previously.
  • Address the provision of finance as well as the structuring of demand, in particular at regional and national level.
  • Define the target region(s) and sector(s) and justify how the proposed scheme is innovative and complements available funding schemes.
  • Clearly demonstrate the business case and financial viability of the proposed scheme (including e.g. market analysis, investment sizes targeted, transaction and management costs, expected energy/cost savings and other returns, etc.).
  • Plan replication and/or rollout of the scheme envisaged beyond the region(s) targeted for the establishment, including the analysis of legal and market conditions for replication.

Scope B: Mainstreaming sustainable energy finance

Proposals should address one or several of the following areas of work:

  • Development, evolution, labelling and certification of financial products, including insurance, as well as provision of information and potential advice to the borrower or investor in order to ensure uptake of green products, with a focus on the retail side and/or capital markets.
  • Evolution of risk and sustainability assessment of private investors by integrating the specificities of energy efficiency and integrated small-scale renewables, including multiple benefits of energy efficiency. The focus can be at project level (e.g. creditworthiness analysis, quality standards, benchmarking data) or at portfolio level (e.g. internal ratings-based approaches, climate stress-testing, analysis of investment strategies, etc.).
  • Benchmarking, tagging, monitoring and disclosure of data on energy efficiency investments and financial performance thereof, including standards to report on the energy performance of investment portfolios (in particular mortgages, consumer loans, corporate loans).
  • Targeted support to policy makers, regulatory bodies and supervisory authorities on sustainable energy related activities, for example on risk ratings and stress testing related to energy performance of assets.
  • Accelerating implementation of EU sustainable finance principles by private investors and/or companies for sustainable energy investments, including for investments not yet covered by the EU taxonomy.
  • Capacity building at all levels of the private finance value chain, in the form of exchanges of best practices, development of training programmes and/or evolution and/or rollout of existing training programmes.

The proposed actions should have a strong component of engagement with the relevant stakeholders in the private finance value chain, including institutional investors, but also retail banking branches, brokers, fund managers, investment advisers, insurers, etc., in order to ensure adoption of the results by market players. Proposals should demonstrate support of the targeted stakeholder groups and how they will be involved throughout the project.

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Eligibility Criteria

Regions / countries for funding

EU Member States, Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT)
Moldova (Moldova), Iceland (Ísland), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Ukraine (Україна)

eligible entities

Education and training institution, International organization, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)

Mandatory partnership


Project Partnership

Proposals must be submitted by:

  • minimum 3 applicants (beneficiaries; not affiliated entities) from 3 different eligible countries. 

In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:

  • be legal entities (public or private bodies)
  • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
    • EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs))
    • non-EU countries:
      • listed EEA countries and countries associated to the LIFE Programme (associated countries) or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature (list of participating countries)
  • the coordinator must be established in an eligible country

Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of self-employed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person).

International organisations are eligible. The rules on eligible countries do not apply to them.

EU bodies — EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.

Financial support to third parties is not allowed. 

Additional information


Air Quality, Biodiversity & Environment, Climate & Climate Change, Water quality & management, 
Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy

Relevance for EU Macro-Region

EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region

UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)

Additional Information

Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System (accessible via the Topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section. Paper submissions are NOT possible.

Proposals must be complete and contain all the requested information and all required annexes and supporting documents: 

  • Application Form Part A — contains administrative information about the participants (future coordinator, beneficiaries and affiliated entities) and the summarised budget for the project (to be filled in directly online)
  • Application Form Part B — contains the technical description of the project (to be downloaded from the Portal Submission System, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded) 
  • Part C (to be filled in directly online) containing additional project data
  • Mandatory annexes and supporting documents (to be uploaded):
    • detailed budget table (mandatory excel template available in the Submission System)
    • participant information including previous projects, if any (mandatory template available in the Submission System)
    • Optional annexes:
      • letters of support

Proposals are limited to maximum 65 pages (Part B). 


European Climate Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) - LIFE

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