Project development assistance

Public authorities planning and implementing bankable projects in energy efficiency may also take advantage of EU-funded technical assistance in project development that is available through direct funding grants to public bodies through following channels:

  • European Energy Efficiency Fund – EEEF
  • European Local Energy Assistance – ELENA
  • Horizon 2020 Project Development Assistance

Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions - JASPERS

European Energy Efficiency Fund - EEEF

European Energy Efficiency Fund – Technical Assistance Facility supports projects in the sector of energy efficiency and partly small-scale renewable energy.

EEEF-TA aims to bridge the gap between sustainable energy plans and real investments by supporting the beneficiary by way of allocating consultant services to the planned investment programmes (for example for feasibility studies, energy audits and evaluating the economic viability of investments, legal support). It also covers direct staff costs of the TA beneficiaries if required.

To help the TA beneficiaries even more as well as to insure a higher project implementation rate, EEEF makes one step further and provides technical assistance support by way of consultancy services. This means that EEEF selects appropriate experts with the required know-how and expertise via a public tender process, completed entirely by the EEEF, and assigns them to the relevant investment programmes. The technical assistance beneficiaries can use the consultant services to carry out for example feasibility studies, energy audits and evaluate the economic viability of their investments. Legal support for the investment programmes on the other hand, will be mandated by the TA beneficiary directly, while costs to be covered by the EEEF.22

European Local Energy Assistance - ELENA

ELENA is a joint initiative by the EIB (European Investment bank) and the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme. ELENA provides grants for technical assistance focused on the implementation of energy efficiency, distributed renewable energy and urban transport programmes.

The grant can be used to finance costs related to feasibility and market studies, programme structuring, business plans, energy audits and financial structuring, as well as to the preparation of tendering procedures, contractual arrangements and project implementation units.

The annual grant budget is currently around EUR 20 million. Projects are evaluated and grants allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

ELENA supports programmes above EUR 30 million over a period of around 2-4 years, and can cover up to 90% of technical assistance/project development costs. Smaller projects can be supported when they are integrated into larger investment programmes.

The ELENA facility is led by a team of experts consisting of engineers and economists with extensive experience in the transport and energy sector. Established in 2009, the ELENA facility has awarded more than EUR 130 million of EU support triggering an estimated investment of around EUR 5 billion on the ground.23

Horizon 2020 Project Development Assistance

Horizon 2020 Project Development Assistance (PDA) is a technical assistance facility. The PDA supports building technical, economic and legal expertise needed for project development and leading to the launch of concrete investments, which are the final aim and deliverable of the project.

Proposals should focus on one or more of the following sectors:

  • existing public and private buildings including social housing, with the aim to significantly decrease energy consumption in heating/cooling and electricity;
  • energy efficiency of industry and service;
  • energy efficiency in all modes of urban transport (such as highly efficient transport fleets, efficient freight logistics in urban areas, e-mobility and modal change and shift);
  • energy efficiency in existing infrastructures such as street lighting, district heating/cooling and water/wastewater services.

Proposals should include the following features:

  • an exemplary/showcase dimension in their ambition to reduce energy consumption and/or in the size of the expected investments;
  • deliver organisational innovation in the financial engineering (e.g. on-bill financing schemes, guarantee funds, or factoring funds) and/or in the mobilisation of the investment programme (e.g. bundling, pooling or stakeholder engagement);
  • demonstrate a high degree of replicability and include a clear action plan to communicate experiences and results towards potential replicators across the EU;
  • build on the experiences from previous PDA projects.

This PDA facility focuses on small and medium-sized energy investments of at least EUR 7.5 million to EUR 50 million.24

Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions - JASPERS

Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions (JASPERS) helps cities and regions absorb European funds through top-quality projects. JASPERS offersfree of charge assistance for local authoritiesand promoters, this assistance covers:

  • Project review and recommendations
  • Horizontal tasks
  • Strategic support
  • Capacity building
  • Implementation support
  • Independent quality review

Regarding the energy efficiency JASPERS supports projects in area called Energy and solid waste and supports projects to

  • expand or upgrade gas distribution and storage facilities to improve security of supply in case of restrictions
  • build wind farms, solar rooftops, geothermic and biomass facilities to increase the share of renewable energy in the energy mix
  • rehabilitate district heating plants and networks to reduce energy losses and thus improve energy efficiency
  • retrofit old buildings for a higher energy performance to improve comfort and reduce energy consumption
  • decontaminate polluted sites to reduce risks to population and environment
  • establish and extend integrated waste management systems to improve recycling and dispose of residual waste properly
  • build waste-to-energy facilities to recover energy from waste and reduce landfilling of waste

JASPERS focuses on large projects with total costs exceeding EUR 50 million for environmental projects and EUR 75 million for transport or other sectors. However, there is flexibility about these thresholds in the case of small countries or where projects serve as pilot actions to establish best practice.

To access JASPERS’ services public authorities should contact the Managing Authorities. These are in contact with the JASPERS Regional Offices or contact the different offices directly.25