Municipalities and local authorities are at the frontline of Europe’s energy transition, but often struggle to mobilise the financial resources required for sustainable energy investments.

Potential investors need to be presented with a convincing case, but public authorities often have limited financial and legal capacity to transform their long-term energy and climate strategies into appropriate investment concepts, and to aggregate small projects into attractive propositions.

More and more cities are declaring climate emergencies, they want to become climate neutral and have grown much, much bolder with respect to where they want to land in the next years,” explains Claire Roumet, Executive Director of Energy Cities

To assist, the European City Facility – funded under Horizon 2020 and co-ordinated by Energy Cities – will provide support to cities in developing investment concepts, in the form of tailor-made, rapid and simplified financial support via a 60,000 EUR lump sum grant, as well as technical support and capacity building activities to empower local authorities to transform the energy and climate ambitious plans into real investments. “The facility is designed by cities, for cities, and it should allow them to think on how to use their money,” said Roumet. “Often, it is not about a lack of financial resources, but rather how to direct the investments in the right direction.”

The EUCF will assist in developing investment concepts, describing planned investment projects and involved stakeholders, and providing a legal, economic and financial analysis. These will be an initial step towards a business and financial plan to mobilise investments from the private sector, but also from public sources including the European Fund for Strategic Investments, European Structural and Investment Funds, various Project Development Assistance facilities (such as ELENA) or national investment platforms.

The first call will be launched in May 2020 via the EUCF website. The application process is streamlined to encourage small and medium sized municipalities to apply, though small cities are also encouraged to team up with others in order to bundle projects and blend funds. Successful applicants will gain support through country experts, able to advise municipalities in the language of the applicant, on blending funds, innovative financing schemes, procurement and climate mainstreaming in municipal budgets.

More details on the EUCF and how to apply will be provided in a webinar on 7 April (11:00 to 13:00 CET), which is open to all relevant municipalities. To find out how your city can benefit, join the webinar or visit the European City Facility website.

Image credit: Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels