Funding Opportunities in support of the EU Green Deal

“The most effective factor in obtaining a fund is to recognize the main needs of the policy area related to each sector and then develop solutions and projects in response to those needs. In my approach I evaluate the projects of a company to find out its KPIs as well as its potential impacts and then match them with the goals of relevant policies,” says Bahman Morteza Etezadibehzadi in our interview.

Bahman Morteza Etezadibehzadi works as a freelance green finance consultant to help entrepreneurs and companies reach their target funds for business development. He studied Civil Engineering at Islamic Azad University (IAU), worked as construction and technical engineer before he completed his Masters in European Studies at the International Graduate Center (IGC) of the City University of Applied Sciences in Bremen. The topic of his Master Thesis has been “The Potential of EU Funding Programs for Environmentally Friendly Companies and How to Prepare an Efficient Application for these Funds”.

You are welcome to contact Bahman Morteza Etezadibehzadi with your possible project-specific inquiries here.


Sebastian Klemm: On 14 July 2021, the European Commission adopted a series of legislative proposals[1]https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/eu-climate-action/delivering_en setting out how it intends to achieve climate neutrality in the EU by 2050[2]https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/strategies/2050_en, including the intermediate target of an at least 55% net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.[3]https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/eu-climate-action/2030_ctp_en The package proposes to revise several pieces of EU climate legislation, including the EU ETS, Effort Sharing Regulation, transport and land use legislation, setting out in real terms the ways in which the Commission intends to reach EU climate targets under the European Green Deal.[4]https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/eu-climate-action_en

In your recent article you pointed out that consequently “the focus of this EU action plan is on boosting the economy through green technology, creating sustainable industry and transport while cutting pollution.”[5]https://proofingfuture.eu/2021/05/11/eu-funding-potentials-for-eco-innovative-companies/

How will the latest adoption of legislative proposals by the European Commission affect project funding opportunities?

Bahman Morteza Etezadibehzadi: I believe the latest changes in the EU Green Deal policy will have a huge impact on project funding opportunities. Targeting for 55% reduction of GHG emissions by 2030 is an ambitious goal. The EU has planned for mobilizing at least €1 trillion in sustainable investments over the next decade under the European Green Deal Investment Plan.[6]https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/european-green-deal/finance-and-green-deal/

As the EU Commission states: “The next long-term EU budget will run for seven years from 2021 to 2027 and will invest substantially in climate- and environment-related objectives. The Commission proposed 25% of its total to contribute to climate action and spending on the environment across multiple programmes, e.g European Agricultural Fund for Rural DevelopmentEuropean Agricultural Guarantee FundEuropean Regional Development FundCohesion FundHorizon Europe and Life funds.

Taken together and extrapolated from 7 to 10 years, as well as assuming that the climate target post-2027 will be at least maintained, the EU budget will provide €503 billion to the European Green Deal Investment Plan. This will trigger additional national co-financing of around €114 billion over this timeframe on climate and environment projects.

InvestEU will leverage around €279 billion of private and public climate and environment related investments over the period 2021-2030. It will provide an EU budget guarantee to allow the EIB Group and other implementing partners to invest in more and higher-risk projects, crowding in private investors.

To ensure no one is left behind, the Just Transition Mechanism will mobilise at least €100 billion of investments over 2021-2027 with financing coming from the EU budget, co-financing from Member States as well as contributions from InvestEU and the European Investment Bank (EIB). Extrapolated over ten years, the Just Transition Mechanism will mobilise around €143 billion.

Lastly, the Innovation and Modernisation funds, which are not part of the EU budget, but are financed by a part of the revenues from a key policy tool – the auctioning of carbon allowances under the EU Emissions Trading System, will provide some €25 billion for the EU transition to climate neutrality, with a special focus on lower-income Member States in the case of the Modernisation Fund.[7]https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/qanda_20_24

Sebastian Klemm: What are the key take aways for companies to prepare an effective application in this regard?

Bahman Morteza Etezadibehzadi: There are many opportunities in different sectors. At the moment almost all contributors to the economy have realized the challenges caused by climate change and the urgent need to both mitigate the crisis and adapt new solutions. At the same time there are already many innovative ideas and technologies that address these challenges. This has created a competitive environment among all the involved companies.

Consequently, in order for companies to be successful in obtaining funding opportunities related to the EU Green Deal policy, they need to pay attention to the needs and goals of the particular policy area, address the respective challenges, and direct their projects accordingly.

Sebastian Klemm: How can you assist companies who aim to apply for EU funding?

Bahman Morteza Etezadibehzadi: The most effective factor in obtaining a fund is to recognize the main needs of the policy area related to each sector and then develop solutions and projects in response to those needs. As an EU Green Deal advocate, I am mostly focusing on the goals of this policy and the corresponding challenges which need to be addressed.

In my approach I evaluate the projects of a company to find out its KPIs as well as its potential impacts and then match them with the goals of relevant policies. After that, the identification of the right partners for each project is a very important factor. Involving relevant and high level partners increases the credibility of each project.

Beyond the identification of opportunities and corresponding policies, I do research about the synergies between the like-minded companies and projects. Shaping a high quality consortium is a very influential factor for a successful project. Correspondingly, I invite companies for brainstorming and knowledge-sharing sessions. I highly recommend all project promoters to think more about collaborative projects than individual projects.

Sebastian Klemm: The European Commission identifies i.a. Eco-innovation as an “enabler of green growth and the transition towards a more circular economy.”[8]https://ec.europa.eu/environment/green-growth/ Can you give an overview of the main innovation areas that are directly tied to the EU Green Deal’s new growth strategy? Can you outline which funding instruments are in place to support each of these?

Bahman Morteza Etezadibehzadi: Through the recent revision of the EU Green Deal, the EU Commission has targeted a more ambitious goal to curb climate change. Consequently, there are needs for transformational changes in almost all sectors.

Innovations are needed for entire value chains in sectors such as energy, construction and renovation. Moreover, sustainable transport is considered as one of the main sectors that needs innovative solutions. By 2030, emissions from vans are to be reduced by 50%, emissions from cars by 55% and emissions from new cars by 0% in 2035. The introduction of carbon pricing for aviation and the inclusion of road transport in emissions trading will create more opportunities for researchers and businesses to improve infrastructure for cleaner energy and new technologies. Maritime transport and reducing pollution from marine fuels are also part of the sustainable transport approach.

The main funding programmes of the EU in support of its Green Deal policies encompass Horizon Europe and the LIFE programme. There are further opportunities with ESIF – the European Structural and Investment Funds. Through ESIF, companies can benefit in the areas of research and innovation, digital technologies, supporting the low-carbon economy as well as for sustainable management of natural resources.[9]https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/funding-opportunities/funding-programmes/overview-funding-programmes/european-structural-and-investment-funds_en

Current Open Call

A current funding opportunity in support of Green Deal innovations for the Economic Recovery is the latest open call for the EIC Accelerator Challenges as part of the Horizon Europe Programme: “The EIC Accelerator Challenges supports companies (principally start-ups and SMEs) to scale up high impact innovations with the potential to create new markets or disrupt existing ones in identified areas of strategic relevance. (…) the EIC Accelerator Challenges focus on innovations building on scientific discovery or technological breakthroughs (‘deep tech’) and where significant funding is needed over a long timeframe before returns can be generated (‘patient capital’).”[10]https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/portal/screen/opportunities/topic-details/horizon-eic-2021-acceleratorchallenges-01-02

Companies can apply, if their project supports the Green Deal implementation by significantly contributing to at least one of the following sustainability goals:

  • Increasing the EU’s climate mitigation and/or adaptation ambition
  • Supplying clean, affordable and secure energy
  • Transitioning of industry to a clean and/or circular economy (including waste prevention and/or recycling)
  • Building and renovating in an energy and resource efficient way
  • Accelerating the shift to sustainable and smart mobility
  • Transition to a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system
  • Preserving and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity (including nature based solutions that provide co-benefits for climate adaptation and mitigation)
  • Realising a zero pollution ambition and a toxic-free environment

Contact:

You are welcome to contact Bahman Morteza Etezadibehzadi with your project-specific inquiries here.

Related Articles:

The EIC Fund & Work Programme 2021 in a Nutshell

EU Funding Potentials for Eco-Innovative Companies

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