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EU opens bidding for 1b euros from clean technology fund

[BRUSSELS] Clean technology projects are in line for a billion-euro (S$1.57 billion) slice of support from the European Union (EU), which on Friday launched its flagship scheme for funding breakthrough low-carbon technologies.

The EU Innovation Fund will back emissions-cutting technologies such as floating wind farms, carbon capture technology and energy storage, which the EU is betting on to clean up tough-to-decarbonise sectors such as cement and steelmaking.

The aim is to encourage companies to invest in green technologies, by sharing the risk of taking on large first-of-a-kind projects.

"These large-scale investments will help restart the EU economy and create a green recovery that leads us to climate neutrality in 2050," EU climate chief Frans Timmermans said.

The European Commission on Friday invited projects to bid for one billion euros in grants from the Innovation Fund, which is made up of EU carbon market revenues.

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Further funding calls will follow over the next decade. The fund's total size will depend on the development of the EU carbon price over the next decade. At current prices, it would be worth roughly 12 billion euros.

Waste-to-energy company Fortum Oslo Varme told Reuters it would apply for funds to install carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology at its facility in Oslo, Norway, if the project does not secure sufficient support from the Norwegian government.

The cost of using CCS to reduce emissions is substantially higher than the price EU companies pay for their CO2 emissions, said, Jannicke Bjerkas, the company's CCS director.

"The Innovation Fund will be crucial to help close the gap when developing these early-phase projects," she said.

The 4.30 billion Norwegian crown (S$630.5 million) project, which is part of a bigger 13.10 billion crown CCS initiative, aims to capture 90 per cent of the waste-to-energy facility's emissions, roughly 400,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.

In a letter to Fortum Oslo Varme in May, seen by Reuters, the Norwegian government said state support was not guaranteed and encouraged the project to apply to the EU Innovation Fund.


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