EC in new NER300 innovation call

The European Commission (EC) has kicked off a second round of awards under its NER300 technology development scheme.

The funding programme – which handed out over €1.2bn ($1.54bn) to 23 innovative renewable energy projects in 16 EU member states as part of its first call in 2011 – is targeting large-scale wind, solar, marine, bioenergy and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.

The wind sector categories focus on offshore turbines ranging from 6MW to 10MW in size, along with floating machines with a rating of 25MW, and ultra-large onshore turbines designed for complex terrains and cold climate regions.

Solar categories include parabolic trough or Fresnel system concentrated solar power technologies, and large-scale concentrator PV, thin-film and CIGS-based power plants with a nominal capacity of 20MW.

Marine renewables categories include wave and tidal energy devices rated at 5MW, and ocean thermal-energy conversion technologies with nominal capacities of 10MW.

EU member states have three months to gather proposals from interested companies and submit them to the European Investment Bank.

The NER300 is funded from the sale of 300 million allowances from the New Entrants Reserve (NER) of the EU Emission Trading System.

No CCS projects were funded as part of the first call. Six wind energy projects were granted €273m.

The second call for proposals will be financed with revenues from the sale of the remaining 100 million NER allowances and unused funds from the first call. The exact amount of funding available will hinge on the carbon price at the time of sale.

"The overwhelming response to the first call showed that EU businesses have the know-how and the ambition to lead the low-carbon transition,” says climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard.

“This second round offers all CCS and innovative renewable energy technologies a new chance of applying for funding, including those that were not awarded funding in the previous round.

“We hope to have a full range of low-carbon projects operational by 2018."