The European Commission, the Member States and the EIB will share responsibility for managing the NER300 instrument. External experts will work under contract to the EIB for the evaluation of proposals (details here). Projects developers apply to the Member State in which they want to situate their project using a set of standard forms that the Commission will make available on its future NER300 webpages. Unlike in FP7 projects, only one independent legal entity is needed to mount an NER300 proposal, with no restriction on where it is headquartered. Each Member State chooses from the project applications it has received the ones to pass on to the EIB for consideration in the selection process.
The EIB’s role is to act “on request of, on behalf of and for the account of the Commission” but Recital 5 suggests that it could have a specific task in combining NER300 grants with “loan finance provided under the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF)”, which it manages with the Commission. NER300.com asked the EIB for clarification in May 2010. Its answer, sent by e-mail, is given below.
The RSFF is mentioned in the NER300 decision mainly because it is a facility specifically dedicated to financing R&D and innovation investments including demonstration projects. The fact that NER300 projects by definition relate to commercial demonstration projects implies that these same projects in all likelihood would qualify as “eligible” for EIB financing under RSFF.
NER300 will be a totally separate programme from EIB’s lending operations, i.e. we will have Chinese walls between project teams focusing on normal lending operations and teams focusing on NER300. The selected NER300 projects receive no preferential treatment from the Bank, neither is there any penalty for not qualifying for NER300. In reality, a positive NER300 decision can of course positively contribute to the financing structure of the project and therefore make structuring of the financing easier from all financiers’ (equity, debt, grants) point of view. However, a positive NER300 decision would not pre-empt the need for lenders’ due diligence.
The EIB has hired engineering consultancies to help it perform the technical and financial due diligence assessment of NER300 proposals: Det Norske Veritas (London) and Parsons Brinckerhoff (London) for CSS and Pöyry (Espoo, Finland) and COWI Belgium (Brussels) for renewables. It seems the total amount the EIB wants to set aside for the evaluation of a possible 30 CCS and 135 RES projects over NER300’s two calls is 11 M EUR.