The call for applications will remain open until 3 March 2023
The European Commission launched a call for applications for the renewal of the membership of the Innovation Fund Expert Group (IFEG). The Group needs new expertise because of the changes brought by the revised EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) Directive. With these changes the Innovation Fund will cover additional sectors (maritime, aviation, buildings and road transport sectors) and have a new way of awarding support – via auctions (also called “competitive bidding”).
The Commission encourages applications from:
- Individual experts appointed to represent a common interest shared by stakeholder organisations in this policy area (low carbon innovative technologies);
- Organisations, including professional/trade/business associations, research organisations/think tanks, and applied research institutes; private and public financial institutions;
- NGOs or civil society working in the fields relevant to the Innovation Fund;
- Representatives of Member States’ competent authorities;
- Other public entities, including national competent authorities of Norway and Iceland.
The selection will be based on professional capacity and experience. The results will be announced in March 2023. Existing members are required to submit a new application.
The selected experts will meet approximately twice a year, either virtually (e.g. Webex) or in person, and will start working in March/April 2023. The group’s objective will be to assist the Commission with the necessary preparatory work related to the revision of the Innovation Fund’s Delegated Act, which needs to include new provisions following the political agreement reached in December 2022 on the revised Directive on the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS Directive).
The group, consisting of about 100 experts, will support the Commission in defining all the necessary amendments to the Innovation Fund Delegated Act based on the lessons learned from the first years of implementation, to ensure that it is fully aligned with the revised EU ETS Directive and key political priorities (notably REPowerEU, Green Deal Industrial Plan). IFEG’s role will also be to assist the Commission on the implementation of the Innovation Fund calls for proposals and auctions in the coming years and to act as an interface between the Commission, its stakeholders and national authorities. Successful revision and implementation of the Innovation Fund will support the European Green Deal and the EU’s commitment to becoming climate neutral by 2050.
Alongside the renewal of the expert group membership, the Commission wants to better understand current market needs for low-carbon innovative technologies and consult a broad range of stakeholders on the future operation of the Innovation Fund. For this reason, the Commission will shortly launch a survey aimed at project developers and professional/trade/business associations that may consider applying for funding from the Innovation Fund in the current decade, as well as investors who envisage financial backing of such projects and also Member States and other stakeholders. Further information will follow in due time.
In March 2018, Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 2003 establishing a system for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Union and amending Council Directive 96/61/EC (the ‘ETS Directive’) was amended to establish the Innovation Fund, which aims at using EU European Trading System (EU ETS) revenues to support the commercial demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies.
The Commission’s Directorate-General for Climate Action (‘DG CLIMA’) set up the Innovation Fund Expert Group (‘the group’ or ‘IFEG’) shortly after to assist the Commission in the implementation of the Innovation Fund, and in particular to prepare the adoption of the delegated act specifying the operation of the Innovation Fund. This delegated act was adopted in February 2019 (the ‘Delegated Act) (amended by Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/1204 of 10 May 2021 amending Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/856 as regards the application and selection procedures under the Innovation Fund, OJ L 261, 22.7.2021, p. 4–7). The IFEG’s task was also to advise the Commission on the aspects of the Innovation Fund that have not been defined by the Directive such as its eligibility criteria, application and selection procedures or governance. The group also advised how to maximise the benefits of the Fund through crowding-in of public and private investments and knowledge sharing.
In December 2022, as part of the overall agreement on the revision of the ETS Directive, the European Parliament and the Council agreed to amend the provisions on the Innovation Fund, notably to:
- bring additional sectors (maritime, aviation, buildings and road transport sectors) in the scope of the Innovation Fund; and
- introduce new financing mechanisms whereby projects are selected on the basis of an auction (competitive bidding) and are supported through fixed premium contracts, contracts for difference or carbon contracts for difference. This new form of support will in particular support the production and/or consumption of renewable hydrogen.
Source: European Commission I Climate Action (https://bit.ly/3Y80LJg)