The EC would like to launch the second call in the first half of 2013, one insider has said, and preferably in the first quarter of 2013.
Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, who has overall responsibility for NER300, made statements on the timing of the second call in her press conference of 18 Dec 2012.
A member of her private staff, Niels Ladefoged, addressing the EPPSA Technology Evening on 21 Jan 2012 said, “The Commissioner has been known to say, ‘Patience is not my middle name’,” adding that the reason for her interest in pushing for rapid completion of the second call is to “get money out into the real economy, generating jobs.” In her press conference, she had emphasised the benefits in employment and investment that the awarded NER300 projects would bring.
Proceeding quickly with the second call would enable Commissioner Hedegaard to wrap up NER300 by the end of her term of office as Climate Action Commissioner. The new Commission will take office at the start of 2015. This will be preceded by “lame duck” phase for the outgoing Commission of about half a year.
The second call will look very similar to the first call. Substantive changes would need to be authorised by an amended NER300 Decision, but the amending process would take at least six months, entailing delays which Commissioner Hedegaard deems unacceptable.
The EC is not intending to change NER300 rules to ensure that each Member State gets at least one project (See Article 8 (4) first subparagraph of the NER300 Decision).
The EC considers the renewable energy subcategories defined in the NER300 Decision still to represent an adequate innovation challenge. It does not believe it would be possible to mount a legal challenge to dispute the funding of projects in the same subcategories in the second call as in the first. The EC might argue that funding multiple instances of projects using the similar technology will promote the opportunity for fruitful knowledge exchange between those projects.
Because the NER300 Decision will not be amended, a mistake in the technical description of one subcategory (CSPb) that was introduced in the first call will be carried forward into the second call.
Original, incorrect description that will be carried forward to second call:
Parabolic trough or Fresnel system based on Direct Steam Generation with nominal capacity 30 MW. Direct steam solar temperature to be above 500 °C.
What the description should be:
Parabolic trough or Fresnel system based on Direct Steam Generation with nominal capacity 30 MW. Direct steam solar temperature to be above 450 °C and pressure to be at least 100 bar.
It will not be possible to include a new subcategory in PV, although at the time of the first call the EC had intended to include one in the second call similar to the description below:
Large scale ultra-thin crystalline silicon photovoltaic power plants with nominal capacity between 40 and 100 MW. The module efficiency should be more than 20% DC and the thickness of the wafers should be below 150 µm.
NER300.com offers consulting services to companies wishing to obtain funding for their innovative renewable energy demonstration projects in the second call. Contact details are available here. The non-negotiable features of renewable energy projects are that they
- break new technological ground (e.g. by demonstrating a solution a particular technological challenge at a relevant scale – see next bullet point)
- are on the cusp of “commercial” deployment, meaning that after the NER300 project, the technology should need no further subsidy beyond the usual subsidy offered in the market(s) where the technology will be deployed. This implies that no further financial obstacles should then stand in the way of the roll-out of the technology
- produce energy (ie only energy-producing installations are eligible not, say, manufacturing facilities) or facilitate its integration into the grid (like the DRM “smart grid” subcategories in the first call)
- are installed in the EU or Norway, Lichetenstein or Iceland.