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European Energy Communities Facility
LIFE - sub-programme “Clean Energy Transition”
Estimated EU contribution per project
Link to the call
Link to the submission
Under this topic, a ‘European Energy Communities Facility’ shall be set up and run to deliver financial support to third parties and appropriate support services for the early stages of energy community projects in the EU.
Energy communities can be an effective tool to attract private investment to renewable energy and energy efficiency, increase the public acceptance of sustainable energy projects and engage citizens in delivering a fair and clean energy transition locally. Given the speed and scale at which the clean energy transition needs to happen and the benefits of engaging and empowering consumers through energy communities, it is essential to create tools to help a large number of community energy projects to take off and contribute to the European climate and energy targets.
With the Clean Energy for all Europeans Package, the EU introduced the definitions of citizen energy communities and renewable energy communities. For both, Member States are asked to create an enabling legal, regulatory and policy framework to provide a level playing field for energy communities and other actors and to support their development and integration in the energy system. As the transposition and implementation of the relevant Directives progresses, a growing number of Member States is developing bespoke support for energy community projects. However, there are large areas of the EU where this support is still scarce and energy community creation relies mostly on the work of volunteers.
The early phases of sustainable energy projects developed by energy communities require a significant effort. Emerging communities often struggle to know where to start when it comes to the technical and financial aspects of setting up a sustainable energy project and funding the key pre-development work (e.g. feasibility studies, permits, legal agreements, etc.). In fact, that work is often carried out by volunteers with limited expertise and/or financed by raising funds from members who, if the project fails, lose their initial investment. As a result, many projects are abandoned at an early stage due to the lack of professional advice and the difficulty of raising funds for the early phases of project development.
In order to support the growth of energy communities and make projects less dependent on the income level of community members or the availability of support at local level, this topic aims at creating a Facility able to provide support for the early phases of energy community projects. This support shall be designed to reduce the risk of the pre-development phase and thereby create a bridge between the project idea and the launch of the community investment.
Moreover, given the growing number of successful energy communities, there is a need to effectively share best practices across regions and create peer support opportunities. With this aim, the Facility could take the relay from the European Energy Communities Repository and the Rural Energy Community Advisory Hub (RECAH) and further develop on some of their key outputs.
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 this topic should demonstrate how they will contribute to:
- Support the development of energy communities in the targeted countries.
- Create a network of national experts and helpdesks that is recognised by energy communities, ensures the quality of the different levels of support provided, and complements national support structures.
- Build capacity across Europe through an effective exchange of best practices across communities.
Proposals 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:
- Number of business plans delivered.
- Investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency resulting from the implementation of the business plans (cumulative, in million Euro).
- Number and diversity of energy communities supported for each type of support proposed.
- Number of energy communities having received support which are in operation.
- Number of citizens engaged in energy community projects.
- Renewable energy generation triggered by the project (GWh/year).
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 small-scale renewables) triggered by the project (cumulative, in million Euro) – covered as topic-specific indicator, see above.
- Primary energy savings triggered by the project (GWh/year).
- Renewable energy generation triggered by the project (GWh/year) - covered as topic-specific indicator, see above.
- Reduction of greenhouse gases emissions (in tCO2-eq/year).
The European Energy Communities Facility should offer support services, including financial support to third parties, to develop business plans to grow and implement sustainable energy community projects (addressing e.g. energy efficiency, heating and cooling, renewable energy production and use, electro-mobility).
The support directly benefiting third parties planning to launch energy community projects should amount to at least 70% of the budget through a support scheme which may include two different stages:
- First stage: Pre-screening to check the feasibility of project ideas. The pre-screening should be carried out by a network of dedicated experts at national level able to assess the projects’ viability considering their local conditions.
- Second stage: Support to the development of business plans for energy community projects considered viable following the pre-screening. Proposals should set up a structure able to deliver financial support to third parties in the form of ‘lump sum grants’ to help projects develop business plans. These plans should be produced within a limited period of time and cover, inter alia: technical analysis of the planned investment project(s), a study of planning considerations and grid connection options, a legal analysis, a governance analysis, an engagement strategy and a clear identification of financing options. The network of national experts should also establish helpdesks to give ad-hoc advice to applicants, help promote the facility, train local actors, support third parties selected for direct financial support in contracting the expertise necessary to develop their business plans, and ensure quality control.
Proposals should outline their approach to ensure that the process and criteria for the allocation of financial support to third parties is conform to EU standards concerning transparency, equal treatment, conflict of interest and confidentiality. In accordance with the EU Financial Regulation, when designing schemes to provide financial support to third parties, applicants should outline:
- the different types of activities that may receive such financial support.
- the definition of the persons or categories of persons which may receive such financial support.
- the criteria to select beneficiaries, including, inter alia, the ambition of the energy-related impacts, the potential impact in the context of community energy in a particular country, the soundness of the business model envisaged, and the foreseen use of potential profits.
The proposed direct financial support shall be targeted only to third parties which are compliant with the definition of “Renewable Energy Community” or “Citizen Energy Community” in EU legislation or are developing structures which aim to qualify as such.
The Facility should also establish an appropriate framework for comprehensive monitoring, analysis and capitalisation of results, which will inform the design of future potential phases of the initiative, as well as policy development.
Applicants should maintain and expand strategic parts of the legacy of the European Energy Communities Repository and the Rural Energy Communities Advisory Hub (RECAH), in particular, the stakeholder networks created and the data collection for the impact assessment.
The Facility shall also carry out supporting actions to help best practice sharing and peer to peer exchanges between energy communities. In particular, applicants should plan cross-country trainings as well as a series of open strategic dialogues across Europe.
The European Energy Communities Facility should also monitor the emergence of services delivering support for project development in the different Member States (capacity building and technical assistance) and, to the extent possible, exploit potential synergies with those. It may also collaborate with other relevant initiatives such as the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, the EU City Facility and the European Island Facility, the Smart Cities Marketplace and the Support Service for Citizen-led renovation.
Applicants should demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the varied typology of energy communities across the EU and their needs and challenges including the local, regional and national conditions. They should demonstrate technical expertise related to sustainable energy project implementation (economic, financial, legal, technical) and the capacity to run a large-scale financial support scheme. Consortia applying should demonstrate that they are able to mobilise a critical mass of potential energy community proponents and have a sound and inclusive outreach strategy to different areas of Europe, different sectors and different governance structures. A link with municipal networks and support structures working on sustainable energy projects would also be beneficial.
- For actions supporting the examination and assessment of the legal frameworks for energy communities, please refer to topic POLICY-LIFE-CET-2023.
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Island (Ísland), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Ukraine (Україна)
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)
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 allowed under the following conditions:
- the calls must be open, published widely and conform to EU standards concerning transparency, equal treatment, conflict of interest and confidentiality
- the calls must remain open for at least one month
- the outcome of the call must be published on the participants’ websites, including a description of the selected projects, award dates, project durations, and final recipient legal names and countries
- the calls must have a clear European dimension.
Financial support to third parties will be accepted in projects which aim to assist entities outside the project partnership (e.g. non-profit organisations, local authorities or citizens groups) in the implementation or development of local initiatives that will contribute to the project’s objectives.
Your project application must clearly specify why financial support to third parties is needed, how it will be managed and provide a list of the different types of activities for which a third party may receive financial support. The proposal must also clearly describe the results to be obtained.
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)
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).