Adequate, well integrated and reliable energy networks are a prerequisite for a secure, sustainable and competitive internal energy market. The aim of the Connecting Europe Facility1 is to accelerate investment in the field of trans-European networks and to leverage funding from public and private sectors. While the bulk of the investment needed in the energy sector should be delivered by the market and its costs recovered through tariffs, EU financing may be needed for specific projects with wider regional and European benefits which are unable to attract market- based financing.
In this context and on the basis of the Multi-annual Work Programme adopted on 20 March 2019,2 a call for proposals is launched to support projects of common interest as defined in the TEN-E Regulation3 last amended by the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/540 of 23 November 20174.
As indicated in section 3 of the Annex to the Multi-annual Work Programme, this call for proposals aims to enable projects of common interest to be prepared and implemented within the framework of the trans-European networks policy in the energy sector. In particular, the call shall contribute to supporting energy infrastructure projects of common interest that have significant societal benefits and that ensure greater solidarity among Member States, but which do not receive adequate financing from the market. Special focus shall be placed on the efficient use of public investment.
Furthermore, this call for proposals may also contribute to activities of Transmission System Operators (TSOs) promoting Project of Common Interest which are essential for their system to operate safely, securely (including cybersecurity) and efficiently. These activities may include digital solutions for the grid planning and implementation.
3. RESULTS EXPECTED FROM THE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
As indicated in section 5 of the Annex to the Multi-annual Work Programme, it is expected that the financial assistance contributes to the further development and implementation of projects of common interest in electricity (including smart grids), gas and cross-border carbon dioxide networks helping to achieve the broader energy policy objectives of:
enhancing the Union security of energy supply, and
contributing to sustainable development and protection of the environment, inter alia by the integration of energy from renewable sources and by the development of smart energy networks and carbon dioxide networks.
Furthermore, in accordance with recital 57 of the CEF Regulation and in line with the Multi- annual Work Programme, this call for proposals aims at directing the major part of the financial assistance to electricity projects, subject to market uptake, the quality and maturity of Actions proposed and their financing requirements, while fully recognising the importance of the gas projects on the PCI list.
Furthermore, in accordance with recital 8 of the CEF Regulation and in line with the Multi-annual Work Programme, this call for proposals aims at financing actions contributing to the EU's mid- term and long-term objectives in terms of decarbonisation.
The indicative amount to be allocated on the basis of this call for proposals to projects of common interest in the field of trans-European energy infrastructure is € 750 million.
Date of publication of call for proposals
20 March 2019
Deadline for the submission of proposals
13 June 2019 (17:00.00 Brussels time)
Evaluation of proposals
June - August 2019 (indicative)
Consultation of CEF Coordination Committee/ Information of European Parliament
September 2019 (indicative)
Adoption of the Selection Decision
October 2019 (indicative)
Signature of individual Grant Agreements
As from January 2020 (indicative)
6. ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
In order to be admissible, proposals must be:
Submitted electronically in the TENtec Information System eSubmission module.5 In this respect, proposals or part(s) of proposals submitted by e-mail or hard copy will not be admissible.
Submitted by the submission deadline (see sections 5 on Timetable and 13.2 on the Procedure for the submission of proposals).
Complete, i.e. all parts of the application forms (A, B, C or D) are included.
Submitted using only the application forms (A, B, C and D) provided on the call webpage or (for application form part A) generated by the TENtec eSubmission module.
Duly signed by the applicant(s).
Failure to comply with any of these requirements will lead to the rejection of the application. The use of the application form (parts A, B, C and D) templates provided on the call webpage or (for application form part A) generated by the TENtec eSubmission module is compulsory.
7. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
7.1 Eligible applicants
In accordance with section 6.1 of the Multi-annual Work Programme and pursuant to Article 9 of the CEF Regulation,6 only those proposals submitted by one of the following types of applicants are eligible:
One or more Member States;
With the agreement of the Member States concerned, international organisations, Joint Undertakings,7 or public or private undertakings or bodies established in Member States.
For British applicants: Please be aware that eligibility criteria must be complied with for the entire duration of the grant. If the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU during the grant period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring in particular that British applicants continue to be eligible, you will cease to receive EU funding (while continuing, where possible, to participate) or be required to leave the project on the basis of Article II.16.3.1
(a) (change of the legal situation of the beneficiary) of the grant agreement.
There are no specific consortium requirements for this call.
Third countries and third country entities
Where necessary to achieve the objectives of a given project of common interest and where duly motivated, third countries and entities established in third countries may participate in Actions contributing to the projects of common interest. They may not receive funding except where it is indispensable to achieve the objectives of a given project of common interest.
Applications presented by third countries and entities established in third countries must contain the agreement of the Member State concerned by the proposed Action and a declaration on why the participation of the applicant is indispensable. Applicants that are entities established in a third country8 must also provide proof of the support of the third country authorities concerned by the Action.
Applicants without legal personality
Proposals may be submitted by entities which do not have legal personality under the applicable national law, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf and offer guarantee for the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons.
Proposals submitted by natural persons are not eligible.
Applicants may designate affiliated entities within the meaning of Article 187 of the Financial Regulation,9 for the purpose of supporting the implementation of the Action submitted for funding. Such affiliated entities must comply with the eligibility criteria for applicants.
Member State agreement
Any applicant that cannot provide the agreement of the EU Member State concerned will not be eligible.
In the case of an Action taking place entirely outside of the European Union, applicants need to provide the agreement of the EU Member State(s) concerned by the PCI to which the Action relates in application form part A2.3. For instance, agreement of the Member State for which the related PCI or PCI cluster has a significant cross-border impact and/or who supported the inclusion of the candidate project into the PCI list must be provided.
7.2 Exclusion criteria
An applicant shall be excluded from participating in call for proposals procedures where10:
(a) the applicant is bankrupt, subject to insolvency or winding-up procedures, where its assets are being administered by a liquidator or by a court, where it is in an arrangement with creditors, where its business activities are suspended, or where it is in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for under national laws or regulations;
(b) it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the applicant is in breach of its obligations relating to the payment of taxes or social security contributions in accordance with the law of the country in which it is established, with those of the country in which the authorising officer is located or those of the country of the performance of the contract;
(c) it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the applicant is guilty of grave professional misconduct by having violated applicable laws or regulations or ethical standards of the profession to which the applicant belongs, or by having engaged in any wrongful conduct which has an impact on its professional credibility where such conduct denotes wrongful intent or gross negligence, including, in particular, any of the following:
(i) fraudulently or negligently misrepresenting information required for the verification of the absence of grounds for exclusion or the fulfilment of selection criteria or in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision;
(ii) entering into agreement with other applicants with the aim of distorting competition;
(iii) violating intellectual property rights;
(iv) attempting to influence the decision-making process of the Commission/Agency during the award procedure;
(v) attempting to obtain confidential information that may confer upon it undue advantages in the award procedure;
(d) it has been established by a final judgment that the applicant is guilty of any of the following:
(i) fraud, within the meaning of Article 1 of the Convention on the protection of the European Communities' financial interests, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 July 1995;
(ii) corruption, as defined in Article 3 of the Convention on the fight against corruption involving officials of the European Communities or officials of Member States of the European Union, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 May 1997, and in Article 2(1) of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA, as well as corruption as defined in the law of the country where the contracting authority is located, the country in which the applicant is established or the country of the performance of the contract;
(iii) participation in a criminal organisation, as defined in Article 2 of Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA;
(iv) money laundering or terrorist financing, as defined in Article 1 of Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council;
(v) terrorist-related offences or offences linked to terrorist activities, as defined in Articles 1 and 3 of Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA, respectively, or inciting, aiding, abetting or attempting to commit such offences, as referred to in Article 4 of that Decision;
(vi) child labour or other forms of trafficking in human beings as defined in Article 2 of Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council;
(e) the applicant has shown significant deficiencies in complying with main obligations in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision financed by the Union's budget, which has led to its early termination or to the application of liquidated damages or other contractual penalties, or which has been discovered following checks, audits or investigations by an authorising officer, OLAF or the Court of Auditors;
(f) it has been established by a final judgment or final administrative decision that the applicant has committed an irregularity within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2988/95;
(g) for the situations of grave professional misconduct, fraud, corruption, other criminal offences, significant deficiencies in the performance of the contract or irregularity, the applicant is subject to:
(i) facts established in the context of audits or investigations carried out by the Court of Auditors, OLAF or internal audit, or any other check, audit or control performed under the responsibility of an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body;
(ii) non-final administrative decisions which may include disciplinary measures taken by the competent supervisory body responsible for the verification of the application of standards of professional ethics;
(iii) decisions of the ECB, the EIB, the European Investment Fund or international organisations;
(iv) decisions of the Commission relating to the infringement of the Union's competition rules or of a national competent authority relating to the infringement of Union or national competition law;
(v) decisions of exclusion by an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body.
If an applicant/affiliated entity declares one of the situations of exclusion listed above, it should indicate the measures it has taken to remedy the exclusion situation, thus demonstrating its reliability. This may include e.g. technical, organisational and personnel measures to prevent further occurrence, compensation of damage or payment of fines. The relevant documentary evidence which illustrates the remedial measures taken must be provided in annex to the declaration. This does not apply for situations referred in point (d) above.
Rejection from the call for proposals
Grants will not be awarded to applicants who:
a) are in an exclusion situation established in accordance with section 7.1
b) have misrepresented the information required as a condition for participating in the procedure or has failed to supply that information;
c) was previously involved in the preparation of documents used in the award procedure where this entails a breach of the principle of equal treatment, including distortion of competition, that cannot be remedied otherwise.
The same exclusion criteria apply to affiliated entities. Applicants and their affiliated entities, if applicable, must certify that they are not in one of the situations listed above.
Administrative and financial penalties may be imposed on applicants, or affiliated entities where applicable, who are guilty of misrepresentation.
7.3 Eligible Actions
In line with Article 7 of the CEF Regulation, only Actions contributing to projects of common interest as identified in the Commission Delegated Regulation 2018/540 shall be eligible for support through EU financial aid in the form of grants.
Pursuant to Article 14(1) of the TEN-E Regulation, projects of common interest falling under the categories set out in Annex II.1, 2 and 4 of the TEN-E Regulation are eligible for EU financial assistance in the form of grants for studies (and financial instruments).
Pursuant to Articles 14(2) and 14(3) of the TEN-E Regulation, projects of common interest falling under the categories set out in Annex II.1(a) to (d) and Annex II.2 of the TEN-E Regulation, except for hydro-pumped electricity storage projects, are also eligible for EU financial assistance in the form of grants for works if they fulfil all of the following criteria:
– the project specific cost-benefit analysis (CBA), consistent with ENTSOG /ENTSO-E methodology11 and pursuant to Article 12(3)(a), provides evidence concerning the existence of significant positive externalities, such as security of supply, solidarity or innovation;
– the project has received a legally valid cross-border cost allocation (CBCA) decision pursuant to Article 1212; or, for projects of common interest falling under the category set out in Annex II.1(c) and that therefore do not receive a CBCA decision, the project shall aim to provide services across borders, bring technological innovation and ensure the safety of cross-border grid operation;
– the project is commercially not viable according to the business plan and other assessments carried out, notably by possible investors or creditors or the national and must be still in force (i.e. not expired, cancelled or with ongoing appeals) and display evidence of consultation with other concerned Transmission System Operators and National Regulatory Authorities.
regulatory authority. The decision on incentives and its justification referred to in Article 13(2) shall be taken into account when assessing the project’s commercial viability.
The project-specific CBA and the CBCA decision should be included in the application as standalone documents as well as the business plan. The business plan should be complemented with a separate calculation model, as described in the Guide for Applicants.
Pursuant to Article 14(4) of the TEN-E Regulation, projects of common interest falling under the categories set out in Annex II.1(e) and 4 of the TEN-E Regulation, i.e. "smart grids and cross- border carbon dioxide networks", are also eligible for EU financial assistance in the form of grants for works, if the concerned project promoters can clearly demonstrate the significant positive externalities generated by the projects and their lack of commercial viability, according to the business plan and other assessments carried out, notably by possible investors or creditors or, where applicable, a national regulatory authority.
The proposals requesting grants for works which fail to provide the relevant supporting documents or that provide supporting documents that are not legally valid at the time of their submission will not be eligible and will not be further evaluated.
The contents of the supporting documents and whether the proposed Action demonstrates evidence concerning the existence of significant positive externalities, namely security of supply, solidarity or innovation; provides services across borders, brings technological innovation and ensures the safety of cross-border grid operation; or is commercially not viable will be assessed during the evaluation under the applicable award criteria.
Please note that failure to comply with any of the eligibility criteria indicated above will lead to the rejection of the application.
8. SELECTION CRITERIA
The selection criteria are detailed in section 6.4 of the Annex to the Multi-annual Work Programme. The financial and operational capacity of applicants will be assessed as specified below.
The requirement to demonstrate operational and financial capacity also applies to designated affiliated entities only where, according to the proposal, the affiliated entity(ies) will be the only one(s) implementing the proposed Action.
Exceptions: The requirement for applicants to demonstrate their operational and financial capacity does not apply to Member States, third countries, international organisations, public bodies established in the EU, transmission system operators certified following the procedures laid down in Articles 10 or 11 of Directive 2009/72/EC13 or Articles 10 or 11 of Directive 2009/73/EC,14 and Joint Undertakings established in the EU which qualify as public bodies. The certified transmission system operators are requested to submit their valid certification decisions.
Applicants are requested to register in the Participant Register and provide a Participant Identification Code (PIC, 9-digit number), serving as the unique identifier of their organisation. More information is available in the guidance on "Rules on Legal Entity Validation, LEAR appointment and Financial Capacity Assessment"15 and in the instructions indicated in the Application Form Part B template.
8.1 Financial capacity
Applicants must have stable and sufficient sources of funding to maintain their activity throughout the duration of the grant and to participate in its funding. The applicants' financial capacity will be assessed on the basis of the supporting documents requested by the Commission services:
a) Low value grants (≤ EUR 60 000):
a declaration on their honour.
b) Grants > EUR 60 000:
a declaration on their honour, and
the profit and loss account as well as the balance sheet for the last 2 financial years for which the accounts were closed;
for newly created entities: the business plan might replace the above documents;
c) Grants for an action > EUR 750 000:
the information and supporting documents mentioned in point b) above, and
an audit report produced by an approved external auditor certifying the accounts for the last 2 financial years available, where such an audit report is available or whenever a statutory report is required by law.
If the audit report is not available AND a statutory report is not required by law, a self- declaration signed by the applicant's authorised representative certifying the validity of its accounts for the last 2 financial years available must be provided.
In the event of an application grouping several applicants (consortium), the above thresholds apply to each applicant.
More comprehensive information on the documents to submit can be found at:
In the event that the beneficiary's financial capacity is not satisfactory, the pre-financing payment may be subject to the receipt of a financial guarantee for up to the same amount as the pre- financing payment to be made.
8.2 Operational capacity
Applicants must have the professional competencies and appropriate qualifications necessary to complete the proposed Action for which the grant is requested. To assess this capacity, applicants must provide the following documents:
description of the profiles of the people primarily responsible for managing and implementing the Action (e.g. accompanied by a curriculum vitae);
the organisation's activity reports for at least the last year;
a list of previous actions and activities carried out in equivalent Actions in related fields If compliant with the above-mentioned requirements, information submitted by applicants who have benefited/are benefiting from CEF Energy financial support since 2014 may be taken into account in the evaluation of their operational capacity.
9. AWARD CRITERIA
Proposals will be evaluated against the following award criteria, which take into account the list of general orientation as stipulated in Article 17(5) and in Part V of the Annex I of the CEF Regulation.