What is a cross-border project in the field of renewable energy?
In order to meet the EU decarbonisation targets, the EU Member States committed to collectively achieve a share of renewable energy in the EU’s final energy consumption by 2030. This share should reach 45% according to the latest proposal by the Commission under the REPowerEU action plan from May 2022. The EU reported a 22.1% share of renewable energy across the Union in 2020 and further scale-up of renewable energy generation capacity is crucial to meet both the decarbonisation objectives and the phase out of dependency on Russian fossil fuels. To do so, apart from purely domestic actions, each Member State may choose to cooperate with other countries within the EU or beyond. Such cooperation mechanisms, as set up in the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II), can take the form of joint projects, joint support schemes, or statistical transfers.
The new Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme provides an enabling framework of financial support to foster EU Member State cooperation in the field of renewable energy and introduces the concept of cross-border projects in the field of renewable energy (CB RES project).
In order for a project based on cooperation between Member States to become a CB RES project and to benefit from the enabling framework of CEF, it should fulfil the criteria set out in Part IV of the Annex to the CEF Regulation. These criteria refer to the existence of cooperation arrangement, as well as cost savings and potential overall net benefits that the project would provide.
The Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2022/342 further specifies the selection criteria and selection process. The related Commission Staff Working SWD (2021) 429 provides with the methodology for assessing the contribution of a given CB RES project, and also the general criteria to elaborate the CB RES Cost Benefit Analysis.
What type of projects do we expect?
A CB RES project shall have three fundamental characteristics:
1. It must be based on a Cooperation mechanism as per Articles 8, 9, 11 and 13 of the RED II Directive;
2. It must provide higher socio-economical net benefits, compared to a national project, which is confirmed through a cost-benefit analysis.
3. Its main component must be a renewable energy generation installation.
First of all, a CB RES project shall be based on a Cooperation mechanism signed by two or more Member States (MS) or by Member State(s) and third Country(ies). When submitting the application, projects should submit either the signed Cooperation Agreement or the signed declarations from the participating MS expressing their support to the project and their willingness to sign a Cooperation Agreement.
Secondly, the CB RES project shall perform a cost-benefit analysis, which evaluates the potential overall benefits of cooperation that outweigh its costs, compared to a counterfactual, taking into account seven indicators, in line with the dedicated methodology (Commission Staff Working SWD (2021) 429).
Thirdly, a CB RES project shall contribute to the generation of renewable energy from technologies such as on- and offshore wind, solar energy, sustainable biomass, ocean energy, geothermal energy or combinations thereof, their connection to the grid and additional elements such as storage or conversion facilities.
All the RES technologies listed under article 2 of the RED II Directive are eligible.
It is worth noting that CB RES projects are not limited to the electricity sector and can cover other energy carriers and potential sectors coupling with, for example, heating and cooling, power-to-gas, storage and transport. This list is non-exhaustive.
CB RES projects do not necessarily entail a physical link between the cooperating Member States and can be located on the territory of one or more of the Member States involved, provided that they comply with the general criteria of Part IV of the Annex to the CEF regulation.
What is the CB RES status?
Any project meeting the regulatory criteria explained above may obtain the status of cross-border renewable energy project (CB RES status) and therefore enter a list of projects eligible for CEF funding (CB RES list).
Having the official CB RES status is a requirement to be eligible for financial support under the CEF Programme, and it could provide further benefits such as higher visibility, increased investor certainty, and stronger support from Member States.
As specified in the Commission Delegated Regulation, the new CEF window complements other EU renewable energy funding opportunities, focusing specifically on cross-border cooperation to optimise national efforts for deployment of renewable energy.
All projects with the CB RES status are on a list of eligible projects (the CB RES list) and may therefore apply for dedicated calls for CEF grants for technical studies and works.
Being selected in the CB RES list does not guarantee CEF funding. Once part of a CB RES list, projects may participate to CEF CB RES calls for technical studies and works and apply for CEF funding.
For more information on how a CEF technical studies and works call would look like in case your project is selected for the CB RES list, please see the previous CEF CB RES studies and works call. An example of a past call can be found following this link.
How to apply?
The second call for projects looking to obtain the CB RES status is open from the 10 January 2023 and closes on the 03 May 2023 5 pm CET.
Promoters of candidate projects for the CB RES status can participate in the call by submitting an application via the dedicated CB RES submission platform.
Project promoters should ensure that they have an EU LOGIN account in order to apply via the CB RES submission platform. To create an account in EU LOGIN, you need to provide basics information and have a valid email address. Please follow these instructions to create your EU LOGIN.
What are the next steps?
Once the call is closed, eligible projects will be assessed against the criteria set out in the CEF regulation and the Delegated Regulation.
This assessment will be based on a methodology described in the Commission staff working document.
CINEA supports the management of the assessment on behalf of the European Commission.
Candidate projects meeting the requirements of the CEF Regulation, its Delegated Regulation and the related Commission staff working document, will be proposed for award of the CB RES status, and therefore the inclusion on the CB RES List.
The CB RES list is expected to be adopted by the European Commission by autumn 2023 and published in the Official Journal in November 2023. It is also expected that the next available call for proposals under CEF Energy for CB RES eligible projects will open contextually with the entry into force of the new CB RES list.
- Renewable energy directive (EU) 2018/2001 (RED II)
- CEF Regulation (EU) 2021/1153
- EC Delegated regulation (EU) 2022/342
- EC Staff working document SWD(2021) 429
Mandatory Annexes for the submission of proposals:
- ANNEX 1 CB RES CBA TOOL
- ANNEX 2 CB RES AF annex and CBA report
- ANNEX 4 Sustainability and DNSH compliance file
The application form and all annexes shall be uploaded via the CB RES submission platform.
Please note that together with the mandatory templates reported above, applicants need to upload in the CB RES submission platform the following document:
- Signed Cooperation Agreement (no specific template) OR
- ANNEX 3 Written declaration of the participating countries (in case of absence of a signed Cooperation Agreement or in case the latter does not make explicit reference to the CB RES project)
Check the FAQs document related to the call for the CB RES status.
All the information about the call is presented in the info day organised by CINEA. You can register/watch the recording on the dedicated webpage.
Information about the policy goals and latest developments is available on the European Commission DG ENER renewable energy webpage.
For questions concerning the CB RES list selection process, contact:
CINEA-CEF-RENEWABLESec [dot] europa [dot] eu (CINEA-CEF-RENEWABLES[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)
ENER-CEFRENEWABLESec [dot] europa [dot] eu (ENER-CEFRENEWABLES[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)