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CEF Transport AFIF, last call for proposals

alternative fuels infrastructure subsidies

The time is now. The fifth and final cut-off date for the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Facility (AFIF) call for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Transport programme will close on 7 November.  With a total budget of €1.575 million, AFIF finances the installation of electric and hydrogen refuelling points, among others, through a combination of grants from the CEF and support from financial institutions.

Launched in September 2021, this continuous call for proposals aims to contribute to the decarbonisation of transport along the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) by focusing on three key areas: green hydrogen, electromobility and liquefied natural gas. In the four cuts conducted so far, 91 projects have been awarded funds worth €920 million. “The funds still available for this last cut of the call, however, are close to 600 million euros, which indicates that it is still possible to finance a large number of investment initiatives,” says Asier Pérez, expert in the Transport and Mobility Knowledge Area of Zabala Innovation.

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Who can benefit from AFIF and how?

In this great green transition challenge, projects that plan to deploy a recharging infrastructure in the field of electromobility on roads and port or airport coordination, in the field of green hydrogen on roads, railways and ports, and in the field of liquefied natural gas in ports can receive a grant.

Potential beneficiaries of the AFIF call are both public and private entities promoting investments in any of these fields located in the TEN-T. To date, the call has financed the deployment of 22,233 electric recharging points in 25 Member States, 155 recharging points in 12 countries, and supported the electrification of land transport at 48 airports in 7 EU partners, among other projects.

The first element to consider when submitting a proposal to the AFIF is the location, since the planned action cannot be conducted in locations that have not been declared eligible within the TEN-T. It is also necessary to have a business plan validated by a credit institution, and approval must be obtained from both the Member States where the project is to be carried out and the relevant regional environment departments to ensure that the project does not affect protected natural areas.

Alternative fuels infrastructure subsidies: the role of Zabala Innovation

Professional support is therefore essential. Zabala Innovation is an expert consultant in this strategic programme, as demonstrated by more than 40 projects presented over the last 10 years, in Spain, France, and Portugal. And it has demonstrated a remarkable success in the AFIF call, in which it has managed to finance 10 projects, maintaining constant and fluid communication with the main support bodies in the countries involved.

“The grant application is not overly complex, but the procedures must be known in order to get the support of the bodies involved,” Pérez stresses. “Each proposal must be able to clearly set out the investment project at least one month before the closing date of the call for proposals. Therefore, those who need our support should contact us by September at the latest,” he highlights.

The CEF is a financial instrument created by the European Commission to promote growth, employment, and competitiveness through investment in infrastructure at European level. The AFIF call, which will close in just under two months, is part of CEF-T, the funding tool for the realisation of European transport infrastructure policy, which aims to support investments in the construction of new transport infrastructure in Europe or to rehabilitate and upgrade existing infrastructure.

Its origin goes back to the TEN-T programme, developed during the period 2007-2013, followed by the first edition of the CEF-T programme (2014-2020). The current CEF-T (2021-2027) has a budget of €25.8 billion.