November 24, 2022
EU approves major funding increase for new circular economy and clean energy projects
The European Commission has approved more than €380 million of funding for 168 new projects across Europe as part of its LIFE Programme for the environment and climate action. As part of the European Green Deal, it believes that the projects funded can help the EU become climate-neutral by 2050 and reach climate, energy and environmental goals. They aim to support biodiversity, nature restoration and a circular economy while contributing to the clean energy transition across the continent.
The funding is a 27 percent increase on last year’s budget, with a total investment of over €562 million. The Commission believes that projects from most EU countries will benefit from the funding.
One nature project will improve city-wide biodiversity management in Tartu, Aarhus and Riga (pictured) to restore connectivity and enhance ecosystem health. Planned measures include restoring habitats and engaging communities in these cities to participate in conservation and restoration work.
To promote a more circular economy, one Spanish project will promote hybrid and fully electric tractors for use in vineyards and orchards and the electrification of supporting machinery. This will show how to reduce fuel consumption by 45 percent and the use of lubricant oil by 30 percent. In Italy, one project aims to develop a new circular economy business model based on collecting, sorting and recycling used outdoor shoes to obtain secondary raw materials to manufacture new high-quality shoes.
Supporting climate change adaptation in the agricultural sector, a Cypriot and Greek project will develop, demonstrate and promote innovative techniques to reduce the risks associated with desertification, unsustainable agricultural practices and wildfires. Meanwhile, in Latvia and Finland one project will implement climate change mitigation measures on peatlands. It will demonstrate innovative tools for monitoring greenhouse gas emissions and peatland restoration, including remote sensing and modelling.
On the clean energy transition, seven projects will set up 16 new one-stop shops facilitating energy renovation for thousands of homeowners across five EU countries. Three projects will help households to reduce their energy bills through energy renovation for vulnerable districts and tailor-made renovation roadmaps in southern and eastern Europe. Six projects will boost energy communities at local and regional levels to invest in the energy transition. They will also engage in energy efficiency and renewable energy generation projects, including community heating and cooling across Europe.
New projects under the €380 million of EU funding
Nature and biodiversity
- 27 nature and biodiversity projects will help to protect Europe’s biodiversity and support the implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives, the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the proposed Nature Restoration Law. They have a total budget of just under €195 million, of which the EU will cover around €127 million.
- 38 environment and resource efficiency projects will help to restore the environment and develop technologies to support the Circular Economy Action Plan. They will mobilise €144 million, of which the EU will provide €86 million.
- 7 environmental governance projects will raise awareness of environmental issues such as biodiversity loss and air pollution. They will give public authorities the tools to promote, monitor and enforce compliance with EU environmental legislation. These projects have a total budget of more than €10 million, of which the EU will contribute over €6 million.
- In total, 30 LIFE projects worth about €114 million will contribute to the implementation of the EU’s Climate Law and Adaptation to Climate Change Strategy by encouraging the shift towards a climate-neutral, energy-efficient, renewable energy-based and resilient economy. 11 climate change mitigation projects will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions through sustainable management of land, forests and sea; innovative clean energy solutions; and replacement and reuse of fluorinated greenhouse gases. They will mobilise approximately €50 million, of which the EU will provide around €30 million.
- 13 climate change adaptation projects will help cities and regions adapt to climate change; support climate adaptation solutions in agriculture, forests and water management; enhance the resilience of infrastructures and buildings; and support viable nature-based solutions in cities and landscapes. They will mobilise some €52 million, with over €30 million coming from EU funds.
- 6 LIFE climate governance and information projects will improve climate governance and inform the public and stakeholders about climate change. Their total budget is roughly €12 million, of which the EU is contributing more than €7 million.
- 67 projects will be devoted to improving market and regulatory conditions in the EU for the clean energy transition, notably promoting and rolling out energy efficiency and small-scale renewable energy solutions. They have a total budget of over €100 million, from which the EU provides around €96 million. These projects support the renewables and energy efficiency policies set out in the REPowerEU plan and the Fit for 55 package, as well as the overarching Energy Union objectives.