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European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency

About Cross-border renewable projects and CEF

For the 2021-2027 period, the energy budget of €5.84 billion from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) aims to help the transition towards clean energy and complete the Energy Union, making the EU energy systems more interconnected, smarter and digitalised. The focus is on cross-border renewable energy projects, interoperability of networks and better integration of the internal energy market. The new CEF Regulation establishes a new area for CEF support in the energy sector relates to cross-border projects in the field of renewable energy.

Policy context

The Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC defined national targets for each Member State on the share of their energy coming from renewables.

The EU countries already committed to meeting binding Renewable Energy Sources (RES) targets, with a cumulative EU target of 20% by 2020. Many Member States have already reached a share equal to or above their national 2020 binding target. The Recast Renewable Energy Directive 2018/2001/EU, entered into force in December 2018 in the context of the Clean Energy for all Europeans initiative, sets a new binding renewable energy target for the entire EU for 2030 of at least 32%, and comprises measures for the different sectors to make it happen. Through their national energy and climate plans (NECPs) for 2021 to 2030, Member States outline their intended pathway for meeting a 32% share of renewable energy by 2030, and follow a national trajectory leading up to that point. Currently, Member States, in order to reach their national target, primarily base their approach on the amount of renewables generated on their own territory through national measures. However, the Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC, offers another important tool to the Member States to reach the target: the cross-border cooperation mechanisms such as statistical transfers or joint projects with other Member States. The Recast Renewable Energy Directive furthermore stresses the need to set up an enabling framework of actions to support cross-border cooperation in the field of renewable energy, including financial support.

CEF funding for cross-border renewable energy projects

CEF funding on cross-border projects in the field of renewable energy aim to foster Member States cooperation on cross-border renewable energy technology projects, ensuring a lower cost for renewables integration and enabling the strategic uptake of renewables technologies.

Cross-border projects in the field of renewable energy aim to promote cross-border cooperation between Member States in the field of planning, development and the cost-effective exploitation of RES. They shall be included in a cooperation agreement between at least two Member States or arrangement between at least one Member State and a third country - as set out in Articles 6, 7, 9 or 11 of Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC. They shall provide cost savings in the deployment of renewables and/or benefits for system integration, security of supply or innovation in comparison to a similar project implemented by one of the participating Member States alone. Cross-border projects in the field of RES shall facilitate, among others, renewable energy integration through energy storage facilities and contribute to completing the internal energy market and enhancing the security of energy supply, while contributing the overall Union’s long-term decarbonisation strategy for 2030 and 2050.

CEF funding supports cross-border cooperation mechanisms by providing funding for preparatory studies, as set out in Articles 7 of Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC, to set up the Union list of cross-border RES projects eligible for funding, as well as for technical studies and works for projects included in the Union list of cross-border RES projects. The projects applying for CEF funding relate to renewable energy technologies as per the Renewable Energy Directive.

CEF supported investments are expected to provide an important contribution to delivering the European Green Deal objectives.