The investment concepts represent an initial step towards a fully-fledged business and financial plan. Thus, they facilitate the subsequent mobilisation of (local) investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy. These investment concepts are pre-feasibility studies that include the identification of the potential project pipeline, market barrier analysis, local stakeholder analysis, legal analysis, governance analysis, basic financing strategy and roadmap for implementation.
Sources of funding may come afterwards from the private sector (development banks, commercial banks, etc.), but also from other EU-funded programmes such as the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), various Project Development Assistance (PDA) facilities, such as the ELENA facility of the European Investment Bank, or various national investment platforms.
If successful in the EUCF application process, cities and towns (especially small- and medium-sized ones) will benefit from hands-on expertise and simplified financial aid (up to EUR 60,000). The EUCF will also offer municipalities capacity building and peer-to peer support to enable the development of sound investment packages and mobilise finance.
This EUCF support will help municipalities in overcoming barriers that are shared by many signatories of the Covenant of Mayors in Europe: limited human resources capacity, conservative approaches to project financing or a lack of experience in developing investment packages.
Acknowledging the limited resources of many small- and medium-sized municipalities, the EUCF has made its application process simple, flexible and transparent.
The process consists in two steps:
The application process includes an initial, short eligibility check before applicants start to complete a full application form. This step will cover the legal status, existence of energy and climate binding plans or political commitment (there is neither lower nor upper limit in terms of population in the eligibility criteria).
In the full application form, the applicant have to briefly explain the project they intend to develop in terms of investment and energy impacts, governance robustness of the city/grouping, stakeholder engagement and alignment with the EUCF objectives.
Cities will benefit from local support in their language in all EU countries and the UK. This support will be provided by country experts during the whole application process. At a later stage, beneficiaries of the EUCF will also get guidance from the country experts.
A dedicated team of evaluators will evaluate the applications within two months after the end of the application phase. The evaluation will be based on the ambition of the energy savings and expected investment, as well as on qualitative criteria such as the governance structure, stakeholders’ engagement and alignment with the EUCF objectives.
Groupings of municipalities, by aggregating sustainable energy projects, will increase the ambition of their investments and energy savings. Cities and towns are therefore strongly encouraged to submit a joint application.
April 6, 2020