Following an ‘access to documents’ request, the EC has published the amended Award Decision that details the current status of NER300 projects selected in the first and second calls.
The document shows changes to the dates that projects intend to begin operating and to the manner in which their award is paid to them, as well as, in two cases, changes to the project name and reductions in the award.
The updates reflect the wishes of project sponsors and their host Member States as at late spring 2015, when the EC initiated this year’s annual process to amend the Award Decision.
25 RES projects out of 38 have requested a change, including, invariably, a later ‘date of entry into operation’. Of those 25 projects, the mean delay to entry into operation is of 27 months. This figure excludes any requests for extensions already granted to first-call projects in January 2014.
This means that now 17 projects, which is 45% of all projects, are right up against the latest possible date of entry into operation according to current NER300 rules. This compares to 13% in 2012 and 34-36% in 2014. All French, Spanish, Cypriot and Greek projects are in this position.
Money for construction
More and more projects wish to take advantage of the ‘upfront funding’ possibility, where the award is paid in advance, with the risk that it will need to be paid back if the project underperforms. Five projects were granted this in 2015 (the EC suggests half of all requests are declined — see Impact Assessment).
Further interesting features of the Amended Award Decision
- UK OCNb Kyle Rhea Tidal Turbine Array changed its name from ‘Kyle Rhea’ to ‘Stroma’. The most likely reason is to reflect a change of the project’s location as both names refer to places. This is supported by the fact that the project’s award was reduced in January 2014 because of a reduction in its ‘Relevant Costs’, which is to be expected if the new site has a better tidal stream resource than the original one.
- The award of PVa concentrated PV project PT PVa Santa Luzia Solar Farm has been reduced. This implies the Project Sponsor has recently taken his Final Investment Decision, even though the project will only enter into operation in mid-2019.
- Among the seven countries that successfully lobbied for two-year extensions to some key NER300 deadlines, including projects’ date of entry into operation — France, UK, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden and Finland — The Netherlands and Italy did not subsequently go on to apply for extensions for any of their projects.
Three projects are operating, two in bioenergy (IT BIOg BEST, DE BIOh Verbiostraw) and one in wind energy (SE WINf Windpark Blaiken).
The CCS project, White Rose, did not request an extension, but the deadline for doing so had passed before Drax announced its pull-out. Also, the result of UK’s CCS Commercialisation competition is not yet known. White Rose is one of two entries in line, potentially, for 1 bn GBP of capital funding.