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Financing cross-border cooperation

Cross-border projects in the field of renewable energy is a new category of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for Energy programme for the period 2021-2027.  

©AdobeStock(left to right)Fokke Baarssen/Ruud Morijn/Scrudje

The new CEF Energy funding complements other EU renewable energy funding opportunities, but is focusing on cross-border cooperation to optimise national efforts for the deployment of renewable energy, and thus increase security of energy supply.

With a budget of approximately €875 million for the period 2021-2027, CEF Energy contributes to the EU decarbonisation targets and will help EU countries to achieve the 2030 renewable energy targets by supporting cross-border, renewable energy cooperation.

Calls for renewable energy cross-border projects

The call and application processes for cross-border renewable energy projects (CB RES) are implemented annually and are managed by the European Climate Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA).

Once a project has received the CB RES status, it is eligible for CEF Energy funding for studies and works, and could also benefit from higher visibility, increased investor certainty and stronger support from EU countries.

The first list of projects

The first projects were selected through a call for projects that ran between 4 March and 10 May 2022. They received a "cross-border renewable energy project" status, according to the rules and procedure of the Delegated Regulation (EU) 2022/342.

The list was adopted by the Commission on 30 August 2022 and entered into force when published in the EU Official Journal. It comprises 3 projects relevant to a total of 7 EU countries

  • ELWIND, a joint hybrid offshore wind park between Estonia and Latvia
  • Goerlitz Zgorzelec, a cross-border district heating system based on renewables in a twin city at the border between Germany and Poland
  • CICERONE (Alliance Cross-Border-European Green Hydrogen Value Chain), a project to produce renewable electricity in Italy, Spain and Germany for conversion, transport and use of green hydrogen in the Netherlands and Germany

The second list of projects

The second call to obtain the cross-border renewable energy projects status ran between 10 January and 3 May 2023. As a result, 2 new projects were added to the list, updated by the Commission on 19 September 2023. These projects are

  • SLOWP (Saare-Liivi Offshore Wind Park), a joint hybrid offshore wind park between Estonia and Luxembourg, located on the western side of the island Kihnu, in Estonian seawaters. It includes the construction of approximately 80 wind turbines with a total capacity of 1.2 GW, with an expected annual electricity production of over 5 TWh.
  • ULP-RES WP (Utilitas Lode-Penuja RES wind park), an on-shore wind park between Estonia and Latvia, consisting of new generation wind turbines with joint connection to the transmission grid in Latvia, with total power production capacity of of 200 MW and annual energy production of 600 GWh.

These projects were eligible to apply for funding for studies and construction works. The description of their scope, including the components which are covered by the CB RES status, is included in a technical document.

The realisation of the projects will contribute to the increased renewable energy ambition under the European Green Deal, as well as to reaching the objectives of the REPowerEU plan.

The selected CB RES projects, their description, as well as future projects in the list, are visible also in the interactive map of the CB RES Transparency Platform.

Technical studies and works

The projects on the list of renewable energy cross-border projects are eligible for support in the form of grants for studies or construction.

The first dedicated CEF Energy call was published in 2022. As a result, 2 of the projects from the first list – ELWIND and CICERONE, will receive grants for studies that will help them advance the projects through environmental impact assessment, geological and sea basin research, spatial planning and front end engineering.

Preparatory studies

The CEF Energy can also provide financial support for preparatory studies of projects before they are included in the CB RES list. Such studies help both EU countries and private project promoters to advance cooperation ideas, create momentum among involved stakeholders and, as a result, generate a pipeline of cross-border renewable projects.

The first preparatory studies were awarded after a CEF Energy call in 2021.

A second call was launched on 20 September 2022 and closed on 10 January 2023, after which a project carrying out studies for an offshore wind farm in the Northern Adriatic Sea was selected for funding.

third call, making €1 million available to support preparatory studies for cross-border renewable energy projects, was launched on 19 September and is open until 9 January 2024.


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