Exclusive: EU stimulus funds attract more than 1,000 green projects

LONDON (Reuters) – More than 1,000 climate-friendly projects could line up for a part of the EU’s post-coronavirus recovery package, as ministers begin to discuss the bloc’s budget for 2021-27 and the stimulus fund economic, according to an investigation seen by Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: Flags of the European Union wave outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, June 25, 2020. REUTERS / Yves Herman / File Photo

EU leaders will meet in Brussels on Friday to try to agree on the budget and the economic stimulus fund, which have been criticized this week by environmental expert groups for failing to meet what is needed to meet the current target. of the block to at least reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 40% vs. 1990 levels by 2030.

The EU Commission has proposed a budget of € 1.1 trillion ($ 1.25 trillion) plus a € 750 billion recovery fund for the reconstruction of economies most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Commission says the comprehensive package will drive a recovery that fuels “green” industries and technologies, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change.

Research reviewed by Reuters, prior to publication in September, identified more than 1,000 green projects eligible for the recovery fund. The research, commissioned by the European Climate Foundation, was carried out by the EY consultancy.

The projects would support more than 2 million jobs and would require an investment of around 200 billion euros, according to the research.

These so-called “shovel-ready” projects, which could be ready for launch in two years if they receive funding, cover renewable energy, energy storage, building renovation, low-carbon transportation, technology manufacturing Low carbon and more efficient industrial industry processes.

Examples include HYBRIT, a joint venture between the SSAB steel company (SSABa.ST), the mining company LKAB and the utility company Vattenfall [VATN.UL] – to replace coking coal with fossil fuel-free hydrogen in steel production in Sweden, which would require between € 1.5bn and € 2bn, said Steve Varley, EY global vice president of sustainability.

Another project is from the Korean chemical company LG Chem (051910.KS) to develop a gigafactory to produce lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles in Krakow, Poland.

A third scheme relates to the French government’s plan to renovate Paris buildings to make them more energy efficient, Varley said.

The 1,000 projects listed represent only about 10% of green projects currently underway in Europe, EY said.

That means the entire portfolio of EU green projects could represent up to € 1 trillion in investment and replace at least 12 million jobs lost during the pandemic, Varley said.

To identify which projects might be eligible for EU funding, EY interviewed companies, stakeholders, officials and investors in each member state. It also reviewed planning requests and funding requests.

About 30% of the projects highlighted by EY are being developed by startups and small and medium-sized companies that focus on low carbon mobility, green hydrogen and low carbon building materials.

More than 20% are small-scale and require an investment of up to 5 million euros.

EY said it will soon share the list of ready-to-invest projects with member states preparing recovery plans.

Report by Nina Chestney; Editing by Kate Daigle and Jason Neely

Our Standards:Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.