14 associations across Europe call upon the EU to set higher co-financing rates for energy projects under the new LIFE programme

22 April 2020

On 20 April, Eurocities, and other 13 EU associations, signed a letter to call upon the European Commission and the LIFE Committee to set an appropriate co-financing rate for the future LIFE “Coordination and Support Actions” (CSA) projects on energy transition.

The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. As part the next LIFE programme for the period 2021-2027, the CSA funding to promote sustainable energy transition will be transferred from Horizon 2020, the research and innovation programme, to the LIFE programme. This change risks a large reduction of the co-financing rate, which is currently at 100%, for thousands of new LIFE beneficiaries to 55/60% the current co-financing rate of LIFE projects.

“… following the Commission and LIFE Committee discussions to fix a co-financing rate for CSA as part of the first LIFE multiannual work programme, the signatories of this letter – representing thousands of cities, regions, energy agencies, cooperatives, NGOs, SMEs and experts from across Europe’s renewable energy and energy efficiency sector – call for this rate to be set above 80% and as close to 100% as possible.”

After collecting evidence among current beneficiaries, the associations are underlying that only such level of co-funding would allow the signatory organisations to continue their work on ensuring a real energy transition for Europe.

Some of the evidence is:

  • National match funding for energy related topics are only present in a few countries and even then, it is only accessible through competitive bidding with often conflicting timelines and evaluation criteria.
  • EU co-funding for CSA sustainable energy projects has been unique due to the fact that they are not pure research and therefore do not attract research funds and early investors.
  • The current H2020 rates for CSA encourage organisations to gain new competences, design bolder projects and develop new services for energy transition.
  • The impact of CSA-energy projects risks being compromised as achieving their result was in part ensured by focusing on their implementation rather than securing match funding.

Such projects on sustainable energy have supported cities, regions, and communities to transform their environmental and climate ambitions into action for the last year, under Horizon 2020. These have not only alleviated energy poverty and empowered citizens, but they have also stimulated local economic development through the creation of jobs and increased demand and supply for energy efficiency services.

The signatories of the letter believe that under the right conditions, these actions can continue this momentum under the LIFE programme and help to achieve the European Union’s Green Deal objectives.

Please find the signed letter attached below.

Joint Letter EU associations LIFE programme post-2021