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Call: Technical support to clean energy transition plans and strategies in municipalities and regions

Programme
Acronym LIFE-CET
Description of programme
"LIFE - sub-programme “Clean Energy Transition”"

The specific objectives of the sub-programme "Clean Energy Transition" are the following:

  • to develop, demonstrate and promote innovative techniques, methods and approaches for reaching the objectives of Union legislation and policy on the transition to sustainable renewable energy and increased energy efficiency, and to contribute to the knowledge base and to the application of best practice;
  • to support the development, implementation, monitoring and enforcement of relevant Union legislation and policy on the transition to sustainable renewable energy or increased energy efficiency, including by improving governance at all levels, in particular through enhancing capacities of public and private actors and the involvement of civil society;
  • to catalyse the large-scale deployment of successful technical and policy-related solutions for implementing relevant Union legislation on the transition to renewable energy or increased energy efficiency by replicating results, integrating related objectives into other policies and into public and private sector practices, mobilising investment and improving access to finance.

This sub-programme will fund the activities responding to the specific topics defined in the annual calls for proposals which are based on the list of priority topics. Other activities related to energy efficiency and renewable energy, which do not address the specific requirements of the calls defined under this sub-programme can be submitted to the calls under the Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation sub-programme.

The sub-programme will aim at facilitating the transition toward an energy-efficient, renewable energy-based, climate-neutral and -resilient economy by funding coordination and support actions across Europe. These actions aim at breaking market barriers that hamper the socio-economic transition to sustainable energy, typically engaging multiple small and medium-size stakeholders, multiple actors including local and regional public authorities and non-profit organisations, and involving consumers.

The sub-programme will contribute to the implementation of the energy-related actions of the European Green Deal, including the ‘Renovation wave’ initiative for the building sector and will give due consideration to territories not connected to the European grids such as the EU outermost regions. It will contribute to the Just Transition objectives by accompanying the territories and the groups of citizens negatively affected by the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, by building capacity of actors and fostering clean energy investments, mainly in energy efficiency and locally available, sustainable, renewable energy sources. Activities related to technology development will not be included.

A significant part of this budget will be used to finance Coordination and Support Actions (CSA) under OAs grants for the four year period, whereas the possibility to finance SAPs is only foreseen as from 2023.

It will cover the following areas of intervention:

  • Building a national, regional and local policy framework supporting the clean energy transition:

Increasing coherence of energy transition governance at different levels by enhancing multi-stakeholder dialogue and building the capacity of public authorities to deliver under the national energy and climate plans and/or other plans and strategies (e.g. just transition plans, long-term renovation strategies, strategies for the electrification of the transport system). Supporting the development and effective implementation of clean energy policies, including the relevant Union legislation on products and energy consumers, in the EU and third countries. Supporting actions that put into practice the enabling provisions included in the European legislation on clean energy.

  • Accelerating technology roll-out, digitalisation, new services and business models and enhancement of the related professional skills on the market for the clean energy transition:

Providing support for the decarbonisation of the buildings, industry and tertiary sectors, by fostering market uptake of innovative solutions, including digitalization and circular design in line with the climate neutrality target. Accelerating the clean energy transition by enabling the development of new added-value services and innovative business models. The roll-out of technologies and innovative solutions needs to be accompanied by measures addressing market barriers including support to the development and deployment of new skills and frameworks (labels, certificates, technological and non-technological standards, e.g. for interoperability, etc.).

  • Attracting private finance for sustainable energy:

To upscale investments in sustainable energy, different capital flows need to be made available by addressing both supply and demand of finance, and by using public funds effectively. Supply side activities include: data collection, methodology and evidence-based risk management; harmonisation of definition and measuring of sustainable investments; development of innovative financing mechanisms, products, services and practices; standardisation and aggregation of projects and investments; simplification of the process for investors; capacity building and dialogue. Activities should contribute to EU policy and legislation in the field of sustainable finance.

  • Supporting the development of local and regional investment projects:

Build capacity of local public authorities and private investors, notably community collective investors. Facilitate dialogue with the financial sector to deliver sustainable energy investments, including tailored actions contributing to a fair society and to a just energy transition in EU regions most dependent on fossil fuels or carbon intensive processes. Promote public procurement of energy and resource efficient works, supplies and services. Support tailored approaches for local actors to develop investment concepts, implement organisational innovations and aggregate projects. Improve market conditions and develop new integrated services offers for sustainable energy in buildings, transport, ports, and SMEs.

  • Involving and empowering citizens in the clean energy transition:

Support citizens in taking an active role in the clean energy transition, including targeted support for collective actions, community and citizen-led initiatives and development of new energy services and social innovations. Strengthen collaboration between local authorities and citizen-led initiatives. Support actions that contribute to alleviate energy poverty. Foster energy literacy and sustainable energy behaviour of citizens, in particular younger generations.

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Call
Technical support to clean energy transition plans and strategies in municipalities and regions
Description of call
"Technical support to clean energy transition plans and strategies in municipalities and regions"

Objective:

The topic aims to provide local and regional authorities with the necessary capacity to deliver sustainable plans and strategies for the energy transition. To successfully support the achievement of energy and climate targets, transition strategies and plans need to be institutionalised, cross-sectoral and tailored to the level of innovation, ambition and specific geographic context of the involved authorities.

Local and regional authorities are a decisive lever for the EU to achieve its carbon neutrality target by 2050. Policy-makers and administrations at all sub-national levels (regions, provinces, cities, towns, urban districts, rural areas, etc.) need to commit to and effectively plan the clean energy transition of their respective territory, energy systems and infrastructures at an unprecedented level of ambition and pace with a long-term time horizon.

However, local and regional authorities often lack capacities to plan such plans and strategies, in particular in smaller municipalities, rural areas and carbon-intensive regions that are lagging behind in the energy transition. For instance, small municipalities among the Covenant of Mayors signatories still highly need support to design their Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans (SECAPs). Other cities which have already developed such a SECAP or similar plans still need to align their plans to the new targets and deliver more ambitious actions to reach carbon neutrality. Innovative policy features, such as applying carbon budgets, earmarking and tracking resources for climate actions in the municipal budgets, defining energy efficiency and renewable energy targets at district and community levels and social innovations based on transition management, systems thinking or reflexive monitoring, can support the upgrade of the plans.

Another challenge faced by public authorities is the holistic energy planning required to deliver the clean energy transition. A successful clean energy transition will require more sectoral integration (energy production, buildings, mobility and transport, land-use, waste, water, health, etc.) when planning the transformation of cities and regions, also with a view of a socially fair transition. The integration of both climate mitigation and adaptation remains complex for many Covenant of Mayors signatories. Integrated energy planning piloted in previous EU-funded projects (e.g. energy and mobility, energy and urban planning, etc.) proved beneficial in mutually reinforcing sectoral policies, improving the efficiency of the planning process, activating or reinforcing cooperation between different departments of public authorities.

A stronger political commitment, ownership of the plans by public authorities beyond electoral cycles and appropriate resources need also to be secured to deliver on the required reduction in energy consumption and GHG emissions. Often, the plans and strategies already adopted are not supported by robust governance structures, dedicated competences and available resources within the administrations to implement the required change. Planning processes need to be institutionalised and new participative governance schemes, involving key local stakeholders and citizens, established for the clean energy transition to be truly embedded in the territories and locally supported, also by vulnerable groups affected by the transition.

Moreover, alignment and consistency with other energy and climate frameworks are necessary, in particular with national and EU levels. Energy and climate targets and measures defined in the clean energy transition strategies and plans developed by regional and local authorities need to clearly support and front lead National Energy and Climate Plans, Recovery and Resilience Plans, EU Green Deal and its initiatives such as the Renovation Wave, the transposition of the Clean energy Package into national laws, the national Long-Term Renovation Strategies, the Horizon Europe mission on climate-neutral and smart cities, etc., in order to contribute to a coherent transition of the energy systems in the Member States.

Scope:

  • Actions should provide technical support to regional and local authorities and build their capacities to develop and monitor ambitious long-term clean energy transition plans/strategies for 2030 and/or 2050 in coherence with EU and national reporting frameworks, through a right mix of activities (tailored-made assistance adapted to territorial circumstances, training programmes for policy-makers/public officers, promoting replication and roll-out of planning best practices and information tools, etc.). Actions should support regional and local authorities in particular in gaining technical, legal and social skills and resources required to deliver holistic, integrated and inclusive energy planning based on stakeholders' engagement and social innovations.
  • Actions should seek to institutionalise integrated energy planning in local and regional authorities and implement a cross-sectoral approach to plan the energy transition, by designing and improving planning processes which can facilitate integration of clean energy with other sectors such as mobility and transport, land-use and urban planning, services, infrastructures, etc. The aim is to professionalise and accelerate planning processes, support higher ambition levels, break silos and increase cooperation between different departments of the local (regional) authority, and maximise the impact of local and regional plans. Actions should take into account the regulatory framework conditions, the social impact of plans and investigate new participatory policy models and planning instruments to involve and engage the civil society and a wider spectrum of stakeholders. Actions should support the establishment of new forms of participative governance structures to involve multiple stakeholders and citizens in the planning and implementation of the clean energy transition.
  • Specific territorial focus should be put on public authorities willing to establish innovative planning processes through local pilots and/or on geographical areas, municipalities and regions that despite their significant level of ambition are still lagging behind, affected by the transition and not yet fully engaged in it.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 1.75 million would allow the specific objectives to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

  • Number of policies/plans/strategies established through the action
  • Political commitment and appropriate resources secured for climate and energy transition plans, expressed through climate budgets (in Euro) and climate tracking (in % of resources supporting climate actions)
  • Number of institutionalised collaborations on the energy transition between various departments/administrations in public authorities and between public authorities and stakeholders
  • Numbers of stakeholders involved in planning the energy transition
  • Number of public officers with improved capacity/skills in planning the energy transition
  • Number of public authorities mobilized that are currently not engaged in key EU initiatives
  • Primary energy savings, Renewable energy generation triggered by the project (in GWh/year) to be delivered in clean energy transition plans/strategies developed through the action
  • Investments in sustainable energy triggered by the project (cumulative, in million Euro)
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Thematic Focus Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Green Technologies & Green Deal, Climate, Climate Change, Environment & Biodiversity, Circular Economy, Sustainability, Natural Resources, Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Health, Social Affairs, Sports, Administration & Governance, Art & Culture, Cultural Heritage, History, Media, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation, Regional Development & Regional Planning
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Albania / Shqipëria
Iceland / Ísland
Israel / ישראל / إسرائيل
Turkey / Türkiye
Ukraine / Україна Oukraïna
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Albania / Shqipëria
Iceland / Ísland
Israel / ישראל / إسرائيل
Turkey / Türkiye
Ukraine / Україна Oukraïna
Eligible applicants Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, Research Institution, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, International Organization, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Education and Training Centres, Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), NGO / NPO, Public Services, Other, National Government, Start Up Company, University, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Association
Applicant details

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 (participating countries) or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature
  • the coordinator must be established in an eligible country
Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details

Proposals must be submitted by at least 3 applicants (beneficiaries; not affiliated entities) from 3 different eligible countries.

Entities from other countries are exceptionally eligible, if the granting authority considers their participation essential for the implementation of the action (see work programme).

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.

Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees for the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons34.

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

Entities composed of members may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’. Please note that if the action will be implemented by the members, they should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible).

Beneficiaries from countries with ongoing negotiations may participate in the call and can sign grants if the negotiations are concluded before grant signature (with retroactive effect, if provided in the agreement).

Special rules apply for certain entities (e.g. entities subject to EU restrictive measures under Article 29 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) and Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU) and entities covered by Commission Guidelines No 2013/C 205/0537). Such entities are not eligible to participate in any capacity, including as beneficiaries, affiliated entities, associated partners, subcontractors or recipients of financial support to third parties (if any).

Call opens 13.07.2021
Call closes 12.01.2022
Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

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 (mandatory template available in the Submission System)
  • optional annexes: letters of support

Page limit - Part B: 70 pages

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details

Topic budget: EUR 7,000,000.00

Funding rate for Coordination and Support Actions: up to 95%
Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Contact Details https://cinea.ec.europa.eu/life/about-life/life-contacts_en

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