NER300.com is an unofficial, independent portal dedicated to renewable energy and grid integration projects wishing to access this instrument, providing
ENDS Europe reported on 27 February that a final investment decision on UPM’s Stracel project in France (BIOd) is ‘unlikely’ to be taken until next year because of uncertainty in the regulatory outlook for advanced biofuels. This means the project is likely to lose its entitlement to a NER300 subsidy of 170 M EUR, a condition of which is that the final investment decision is taken by the end of December 2014. This is the fourth project after Westwave, Pyrogrot and Ajos BTL to have publicly announced that it either cannot or is unlikely to use its award, bringing the total so far of unusable awards to a little over 300 M EUR.
Vapo, the company behind the ‘Ajos BTL’ first Round NER300 project (Award: 88 M EUR, subcategory BIOe) took the decision on 21 February to ‘freeze’ work on its NER300 project. Its press release is available here. The company’s press describes the failure of the EC’s proposal for a Framework for Climate and Energy 2020-2030, released on 22 January, to include any specific measures to ensure a binding share of renewable energy transport as the “decisive blow” to its project. Its Managing Director comments, “In this situation it is not possible to conclude long-term commitments, which would have created the financial preconditions for Vapo’s biodiesel project.”
BillerudKorsnäs today announced the withdrawal of its Swedish project, Pyrogrot, from NER300. Pyrogrot was a BIOa-subcategory project concerning ‘Lignocellulose to intermediate solid, liquid or slurry bioenergy carriers via pyrolysis with capacity of minimum 40 kt/y of the final product’. In mid-2013 the project applied for an extension to its date of entry into operation, a leaked document from the EC shows.
Before the end of the month, projects must submit the first of a series of annual reports, detailing the progress they are making.
The EC will need to decide whether to allow another award to a Swedish project in the second round of NER300, which is currently underway. It has written that it is “highly unlikely” that this will be possible.
ESB, the Project Sponsor of Westwave, confirmed the withdrawal, citing difficulty in complying with NER300′s deadlines and, in the period between the submission of the funding application in Feb 2011 and the Award Decision in 2012, slower than foreseen progress in wave energy technology. The company said, “In agreement with the EC and Irish Government, ESB has withdrawn the project from the first round of NER300 and resubmitted it to the second round. This allows the timeline to be extended by 2 years, thus allowing time for [wave] technology to mature.”
The money allocated to it will be available to fund projects in the second round, which are currently being screened for the technical and financial soundness by the EIB. The resubmitted project is therefore competing against the other 32 proposals undergoing this assessment.
The project was one of two Irish contenders in the first round. The resubmitted project is Ireland’s only second-round project.
The EC’s revisions to the Award Decision will be available soon after tomorrow’s Climate Change Committee meeting.
Speaking at different events at the European Parliament over the last two days, DG CLIMA officials have hinted at a follow-on programme to NER300 (26 Nov 2013 Head of Unit Piotr Tulej speaking at ZEP event on CCS; 27 Nov 2013 Director Humberto Delgado-Rosa speaking at an ITRE committee hearing).
Any decision to set up a successor scheme to NER300 will depend on an evaluation exercise to be carried out in 2014 once the Award Decision in respect of the second round of NER300 has been published.
Delgado Rosa said of NER300, “I consider it successful.”
MEPs in the ITRE hearing were keen to see storage technologies included among the those that might be supported in future. Jacques Kiewit from Air Liquide (behind the Green Hydrogen CCS proposal), supported by MEP Chris Davies, called for more flexibility in the NER300 rules. In response, Delgado Rosa said it might be appropriate to “give the Commission more discretion” in a future scheme, but in the first round priority had been put on clear rules so that the EC could “be accountable towards Member States”.
The Industry, Research and Energy committee of the European Parliament has, at the last minute, organised a public hearing on NER300 and the European Energy Programme for recovery (a funding instrument set-up shortly before NER300). It will take place 0900-1100 on Wednesday 27 Nov 2013 in the European Parliament in Brussels.
The project ‘Gobigas phase 2′ (BIOc, SE) from the first call will report its experience of NER300 in a section of the programme called ‘Perspectives on NER300 and lessons learned’.
Then follows a section called ‘Opportunities next NER300 scheme’, where the idea of applying an NER300-type process to storage technologies will be examined.
As an official committee hearing, the event will be web-streamed. This link should take you to the web-stream.
On 11 September DG CLIMA invited Member States to review a draft ‘template for Annual Reporting’ that it had prepared. This is the report that, on 31 Dec of each year up to and including the year of (or following? – unclear) a project’s long-stop date, should describe the progress of the NER300 project concerned. It is distinct from the report that must be supplied to comply with NER300′s knowledge-sharing obligations. The Member States have until tomorrow to feed back comments to the EC. As the report will largely be compiled from information supplied by the Project Sponsor, some Member States have chosen to involve their Project Sponsors in the EC’s consultation.
NER300.com’s suggestions, embedded in the draft prepared by DG CLIMA, are downloadable here.
The EC will expect all Member States to follow the template in their Annual Reports once it has been agreed.
MEPs voted in the European Parliament on 11 September to proceed to a Second Reading on the revision of the RES-Directive to increase the greenhouse-gas savings from biofuels. One consequence of this will be to push back the date when discussions will reach a conclusion. Corinne Lepage, the MEP leading the EP’s discussions, said in a press conference following the vote that she did “not have too high hopes” (English interpretation) of a conclusion being reached before the EP elections in May 2014.
The EC has prepared a fourth edition of its FAQ. DG CLIMA apparently sent it in the evening of 27 June to people whose questions had been answered since the last FAQ but by 29 June, four and a half days before the deadline to submit applications to the Second Round, it is still not available to all on DG CLIMA’s NER300 website.
The EC addressed a question from NER300.com in its answer to FAQ 52. FAQ 52 explains how to perform relevant cost calculations compliantly, particularly concerning investment costs that are incurred over several years. NER300.com’s guidance note, interpreting the EC’s answer, is provided here.