Consortia will have to share information about the performance of their project. The information to be shared is outlined in Annex 3 of the Award Decision, ‘Specification for legally-binding instrument’. The ‘SLBI’ is a model contract drawn up by the EC for Member States to sign with winning projects located on their territory.
The EC will be responsible for ensuring that projects comply with NER300 knowledge-sharing rules and for implementing procedures to share this knowledge. Projects will submit ‘must-share’ information (known as Relevant Knowledge in the SLBI) in a standard format that will be designed by the EC. DG Energy wants information to be reported in the same format as EEPR projects must use. In order for a project to receive its NER300 subsidy for calendar year N, it must send all Relevant Knowledge in respect of that year to the EC by 15 February of year N+1 (see Reporting and disbursement schedule). Project Sponsors must oblige subcontractors to pass on Relevant Knowledge if they hold it (FAQ 54). Monitoring, verification and reporting of the project’s renewable energy production is a related but separate procedure that must respect similar deadlines.
Relevant knowledge will be shared at two levels. Detailed information will be shared between projects in the same category and “any other project which has agreed to share information with the EC on [equivalent] terms”. General information will, on the other hand, effectively be made public. These levels of sharing are respectively known as ‘Level 1’ and ‘Level 2’.
The EC would like NER300 beneficiaries to grant non-exclusive licences to any part of the knowledge that they have gained from their NER300-funded project “on terms that are commercially reasonable” to a party seeking to “implement a project similar to the Project [awarded the NER300 grant] anywhere in the world”. The SLBI appears not to put a direct requirement on beneficiaries to license in this way. Instead it asks the Member States to consider whether, in order to be compliant with NER300’s rules they might themselves need to put this requirement on projects (9d and 9e of SLBI).
A UK-based consultancy helped the EC implement NER300’s knowledge sharing rules. The consultancy started work in April 2011 and had handed in its report to the EC by the end of 2011. Its remit was to
- propose a method for sharing knowledge within Level 1 and Level 2
- identify organisation(s) that could help to share the knowledge, or that could hold it
- propose a composition and characteristics for these/this organisation(s) (note: the EC later nominated itself as the organisation)
- propose indicators of success