EU hands out $1.6bn for innovative renewables projects

The European Commission has awarded more than €1.2bn ($1.58bn) to 23 renewable energy demonstration projects under the EU’s NER300 technology development programme.

Projects in 16 countries receiving EU funding include concentrating solar power, wind power, ocean energy and advanced biofuels.

They are slated to enter into operation between 2013 and 2016 and add 10TWh to the EU’s annual renewable energy production.

Bard’s 208MW Veja Mate I wind farm northwest of the island of Borkum in the German North Sea is to receive €112.6m.

Offshore specialist Bard has already received permission from German authorities to build Veja Mate and also has a grid connection reserved.

Bard faces serious financial troubles, however, and attempts to sell the company so far haven’t succeeded. Also, its planned 6.5MW wind turbine isn’t ready for market.

As Rechargereported earlier, Principle Power’s WindFloat floating turbine system secured €30m.

The NER300 programme will also fund tidal turbine projects in Scotland at the Kyle Rhea Tidal Turbine Array and the Sound of Islay, and the Westwave wave energy project off the coast of Ireland.

Among the biggest winners is the Woodspirit bioenergy programme in the Netherlands, which was awarded €199m. It will use wood chips as feedstock for producing 516 million litres of bio-methanol a year to be used as additive for mineral fuel.

No funding went into carbon capture and storage (CCS) as planned projects were not sufficiently advanced or had funding gaps.

As not all of the €1.5bn available under the NER300 programme was used up, the EC will hold a second call for proposals, probably in early 2013, that could include CCS projects, EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said.

NER300 is co-financed by proceeds from the EU’s emission trading scheme. The €1.2bn allocated to projects under the first call for proposals is being matched by pledges of €2bn from private investors to cover additional costs, the EU said.