Applications are now open for the European City Facility (EUCF), set up under the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation of the European Union for providing tailor-made, rapid and simplified financial support (grants of EUR 60,000) and capacity building services to municipalities and local authorities in Europe that will enable them to develop sound investment concepts (hereafter referred to as IC) and mobilise finance in the field of sustainable energy.
The EUCF is a European initiative to support municipalities, local authorities and their groupings across Europe to develop investment concepts to accelerate investments in sustainable energy.
- The ultimate objective of the EUCF is to build a substantial pipeline of sustainable energy investment projects across municipalities in Europe. This will be achieved by providing targeted financial, technical, legal and capacity building support to overcome critical barriers, develop credible investment packages and mobilise finance. Delivering this will require organisational, technical and financial innovation, in particular to bridge the capacity and capability gap for small and medium-sized municipalities.
- The specific objectives of the EUCF are to:
- Provide hands-on locally rooted technical and financial expertise, inspired by ‘best in class’ European practice, to cities to deliver more than 200 credible and scalable investment projects, which should trigger more than EUR 320 million of public and private investment;
- Build the capacity of more than 400 municipal staff to develop substantial project pipelines and provide them with tools, networking and knowledge transfer opportunities, which will facilitate and accelerate the IC implementation, including via innovative financing mechanisms and project aggregation.
- Facilitate access especially for small and medium-sized municipalities to private finance, EU funding streams and similar facilities, such as the European Structural and Investment Funds, the H2020 Project Development Assistance and the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) European Local Energy Assistance) and advisory services such as the EIB Advisory Hub to realise and amplify the expected investments.
- Use the successful IC and the knowledge of EUCF beneficiaries to reach out to more than 10,000 cities and communities, encourage replication and catalyse further action across European cities.
The principles guiding the design and operation of the EUCF can be characterised as follows:
- Demand-driven: designed by cities for cities
- Different networks of European cities compose the Consortium responsible for the implementation and management of the EUCF in order to ensure that the EUCF takes into consideration and directly responds to the needs of municipalities and local authorities. Also contributing to this principle, the EUCF Strategic Board is composed by representatives of EU municipalities, and is responsible for the strategic steering of the EUCF, ensuring that the demands of local authorities are appropriately addressed.
- Close to the local level: mobilising a critical mass of cities
- To address national specificities and overcome language barriers, which are often a challenge for small and medium-sized municipalities to apply for financing opportunities, the work of the EUCF is supported by experts in each EU-27 Member State and the United Kingdom (UK). Country Experts can provide support in national language to municipalities and local authorities, and have extensive technical and financial expertise in the field of sustainable energy and climate, experience with municipalities and strong connections to national and regional city networks, contributing to position the EUCF very close to the local level and country-specific contexts.
- Ambitious: helping develop strategic and ambitious investment concepts
- The EUCF support is targeted towards strategic or transformational projects in the field of sustainable energy identified in the climate and energy plans of the municipalities and local authorities. Besides the financial support, beneficiaries of the EUCF will receive hands-on guidance, as well as have access to a European pool of experts, to ensure the development of ambitious and sound investment concepts in line with the principles of the EUCF.
- Supporting scaling: capturing opportunities for standardisation and project aggregation
- The EUCF will ensure, where feasible, the integration of measures for scaling-up of investment packages in investment concepts through standardisation and project aggregation. Smaller communities are therefore encouraged to reinforce multi-level governance on their territories and implement projects jointly or under the umbrella of a larger public authority. All developed investment concepts will follow a standard structure and respect minimum quality requirements, which will facilitate matchmaking with future investors and financiers.
Successful applicants receive financial support in the form of a EUR 60,000 grant for the development of the investment concept.
Municipalities and local authorities as well as groupings of municipalities/local authorities located in the European Union and the UK are able to apply to receive EUCF support.
Evaluation of the application will be carried out based on the following five evaluation criteria:
- Investment size
- Energy savings
- Governance structure
- Stakeholder engagement
- Alignment with EUCF objectives
For more information, visit https://www.eucityfacility.eu/apply-for-eucf-support/guidelines-for-applicants.html