NER 300 is a large European funding programme for innovative low-carbon energy demonstration projects. As its name indicates, its funds do not come from the EU budget, but are generated by the sale of 300 million emission allowances of the new entrants’ reserve (NER) set up for the third phase of the EU emissions trading system. The programme supports a wide range of innovative renewable energy sources (RES) and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.
The NER 300 programme is one of the world’s largest programmes for the support of innovative low-carbon technologies. It supports first-of-a-kind, commercial-scale projects of both renewable energy (RES) and carbon capture and storage (CCS).
NER 300 is an essential instrument in the EU climate and energy policy because it bridges the gap between R&D and commercialisation by funding first-of-a-kind projects. In total, it provides EUR 2.1 billion in funding but will leverage roughly EUR 2.7 billion in private investments. It aims at boosting the deployment of innovative low-carbon technologies, where the EU still enjoys a global technological leadership, and as a result will contribute to the creation of thousands of jobs.
Call for proposals and selected projects
NER 300 projects were awarded under two calls for proposals: the first one in December 2012 and the second in July 2014. As a result, 38 first-of-a-kind demonstration projects in renewable energy and carbon capture and storage covering 19 EU Member States were selected for funding. As shown in Figure 1, the majority of the projects belong to the technology categories bioenergy (13 projects) and wind energy (8 projects). Ocean energy and concentrated solar power (both 5 projects) are also important categories in the programme.
In terms of funding awarded, bioenergy is also the leading category with about EUR 910 million in awarded funding (Figure 2). Other categories with high amounts of funding awarded are wind energy (about EUR 340 million), carbon capture and storage (EUR 300 million), and concentrated solar power (about EUR 230 million). Figure 3 shows the number of projects per Member State. Most Member States have one or two NER 300 projects being implemented on their territory. In total, 19 Member States host at least one NER 300 project. Three projects have been awarded funding in Cyprus, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Four NER 300 projects will take place in France as one of them is cross-boundary with Germany.
NER 300 project Verbiostraw © 2015 Verbio Ethanol Schwedt GmbH & Co KG
The NER 300 projects are now moving towards implementation, with three already operational and a further thirteen that have reached their final investment decision.
The operational projects are the Italian bioenergy BEST project, the German bioenergy VERBIOSTRAW project and the Swedish wind WINDPARK BLAIKEN project (Photos 1-3).
Knowledge sharing requirements are built into the programme as a tool to lower risks in bridging the transition to large-scale production of innovative RES and CCS deployment. The goals of knowledge sharing are, amongst others, to: de-risk CCS and RES with regard to scaling up to commercial size; accelerate the deployment of CCS and innovative RES; and increase the uptake of, and confidence in, CCS and RES by the wider public.
For these reasons, project sponsors are obliged to submit annually to the European Commission the relevant knowledge (RK) gained during the implementation of their project. The European Commission assesses the submitted RK with a view to establishing whether the project has adequately complied with its knowledge sharing obligations and will disseminate relevant knowledge.
The knowledge sharing activities encompass participation at conferences and major events, technology-specific sessions for the NER 300 projects to exchange on challenges and best practices. More information about relevant communication and knowledge sharing activities can be found on the Joint Research Centre’s NER 300 news updates on SETIS
In its proposal for a revised ETS adopted on 15 July 2015, the Commission suggested building on the NER 300 experience and setting up an Innovation Fund. This new programme should be endowed with 450 million allowances to support large-scale demonstration of activities in carbon capture and storage, renewable energy, as well as low-carbon innovation in energy intensive industry, including carbon capture and use, thus providing support to a wider range of low-carbon technologies.
It will be a means of directing further revenues from the ETS towards the demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies in the industrial and power generation sectors.
©iNER 300 project Windpark Blaiken © 2015 Blaiken Vind AB
Andreas Uihlein is a Scientific/Technical Project Officer at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. His main interests are the socio-economic and techno-economic assessment of emerging renewable energy technologies, in particular geothermal and ocean energy. He also coordinates the Joint Research Centre’s activities related to the NER 300 programme. Andreas holds a PhD in Engineering from the Technical University of Darmstadt.
Filippo joined the Commission as Policy Officer in DG Climate Action in 2013. His responsibilities include the implementation of the NER 300 programme and its successor - the Innovation Fund. Filippo implements Private Energy for Energy Efficiency (PF4EE), a financial instrument for energy efficiency investments. Prior to joining the Commission, Filippo was Secretary General of the European Wind Energy Technology Platform. He holds a degree in Business Administration.