Innovation Fund Large Scale: 3rd call with a doubled budget
With this new call for proposals, the European Commission has earmarked nearly €3,000 million to promote large-scale projects in cutting-edge and sustainable technologies
It is one of the most sought-after European funding programmes for companies involved in the development of cutting-edge low-carbon projects. Innovation Fund is back with the launch of its third funding call, this time with the support of REPowerEU, the EU’s major package of measures to eliminate dependence on Russian fossil fuels.
The third Innovation Fund call for large-scale projects will be published in November, with a budget of 3,000 million of euros, double that of its predecessor. The deadline for applications will 16th March of 2023; the evaluation results will be communicated in the third quarter, and finally grants and project development support will be awarded in the fourth quarter of 2023. Seventeen initiatives were selected in the 2021 call, and the amount each receives will be known in autumn this year.
How works Innovation Fund
The successor to the NER300 programme, the Innovation Fund is estimated to provide €38,000 million between 2020 and 2030 to fund projects that contribute to the decarbonisation of the European Union, specifically for innovative technologies and processes in these areas:
- Energy storage.
- Innovative renewable energy generation.
- Carbon capture and utilisation
- Innovative technologies and processes in energy-intensive industries.
- Construction and operation of carbon capture and storage.
Companies pay for their greenhouse gas emissions into the EU Emissions Trading System(EU ETS), and this money is in turn invested in the Innovation Fund, which combats climate change by sharing the risk in financing highly innovative projects that cause the least possible harm to the environment.
So far, depending on the size of the project and the capital required, the Innovation Fund finances large-scale initiatives (with a capital expenditure of more than €7.5 million) and small-scale initiatives (with a capital expenditure of less than €7.5 million).
“The Innovation Fund’s funding means that the selected projects make viable the actual large-scale implementation of mega factories or mega power plants with a high degree of innovation, which would otherwise not be viable due to the technical and economic uncertainty of such investments. And in turn, it allows the operation of these plants to have a great impact on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, which is the main objective of the Innovation Fund”, analyses Natxo de Marco, leader of the Energy Area of Zabala Innovation.
New opportunities in the third call
The call to be launched this November comes with two important new features:
- Increases in the amount of funds: in this edition the budget is increased thanks to the support of REPowerEU, with the ultimate goal of achieving energy independence from the EU.
- New thematic lines and new project sizes: in the 2022 call REPowerEU funds will also support:
1. Innovative applications of electrification and hydrogen in industry.
2. Innovative clean technology manufacturing (such as electrolysers and fuel cells, innovative renewable equipment, energy storage or heat pumps for industrial uses).
3. Medium-sized pilot projects that validate, test or optimise highly innovative solutions.
This opens up a great opportunity for medium-sized projects that had been orphaned in previous calls for proposals, which were only open to small or very large projects, as well as for the clean electrification of industry.
Zabala Innovation accompanies you to achieve success
Our consultancy firm has more than 36 years of experience in attracting and leveraging European funds, and the Innovation Fund programme is no exception. In the first large-scale Innovation Fund call, 300 proposals were submitted and only seven were selected for funding. Zabala Innovation successfully supported one of them, Ecoplanta, and obtained project development assistance for two others. For its part, in the Innovation Fund small-scale 2020 call for proposals, three projects were successfully accompanied to funding.
In the 2021 Innovation Fund call for large-scale projects, two project development assistance grants were obtained and one proposal was approved, and three projects were submitted for small-scale projects and are still awaiting evaluation.
“At Zabala Innovation we have a specialised Innovation Fund team that brings together the experience and know-how from previous calls for proposals. We have experts in technical, emission calculation and financial areas, which complement each other to cover the three key pillars of the call for proposals (technical, economic and environmental). In this way, we guarantee high quality proposals with a high added value recognised by clients in the definition and maturity of projects of this scale”, concludes Natxo de Marco.
If you want to know how to prepare a large-scale Innovation Fund project, download it now!