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Clean energy

Ten tips for a successful LIFE CET proposal

LIFE CET 2023 projects
Thomas Zimmer

Thomas Zimmer

Consultant and LIFE CET expert – EU projects

The global need for a clean energy transition is becoming more and more urgent as the consequences of climate change become increasingly evident. To meet this challenge, the EU has been at the forefront of developing and publishing policies and legislation, as well as financing sustainable energy solutions. One of the initiatives set up to accelerate the energy transition is LIFE Clean Energy Transition (CET), an ambitious programme to finance actions in the regulatory field, the goal of which is to break down the market barriers that hinder the socio-economic and technological transition to sustainable energy. Its budget allocation for the period 2021-2027 is almost one billion euros.

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The objectives of the projects submitted to this call will be:

  • develop, demonstrate, and promote techniques, methods and approaches to achieve the objectives of EU legislation and policy on the transition to sustainable renewable energy and increased energy efficiency, and contribute to the knowledge base and implementation of best practices;
  • support the development, implementation, monitoring and enforcement of EU legislation and policy on the transition to sustainable renewable energy or increased energy efficiency, inter alia by improving governance at all levels, in particular through capacity building of public and private actors and the involvement of civil society;
  • catalysing the large-scale deployment of successful technical and policy solutions for the implementation of EU legislation on the transition to renewable energy or increased energy efficiency by replicating the results, integrating the corresponding objectives into other policies and into public and private sector practices, mobilising investment and improving access to finance.

Projects typically have a budget of between EUR 500,000 and EUR 10 million, depending on the topic addressed, are usually run by consortia of between 5 and 12 partners (with some exceptions), and last between two and three years. They typically involve multiple small and medium-sized stakeholders, including local and regional authorities and non-profit organisations, as well as consumers. Funding is provided entirely in the form of a grant, with an intensity of 95% of eligible costs.

The LIFE CET 2023 call

This year’s LIFE CET call for proposals, with a deadline for submission of proposals on 16 November, makes available €99 million for some 60 projects to be funded across 13 topics.

LIFE-2023-CET-LOCAL: Technical support to clean energy transition plans and strategies in municipalities and regions

LIFE-2023-CET-POLICY: Towards an effective implementation of key legislation in the field of sustainable energy

LIFE-2023-CET-EPREL: Maximizing use of and valorising EPREL data through innovative applications

LIFE-2023-CET-BETTERRENO: Energy Performance of Buildings – Creating the conditions to make renovation faster, deeper, smarter, service and data-driven

LIFE-2023-CET-BUSINESS: Supporting the clean energy transition of the European businesses

LIFE-2023-CET-BUILDSKILLS: BUILD UP Skills – Upskilling and reskilling interventions enabling a decarbonised building stock and energy system integration

LIFE-2023-CET-HEATPUMPS: Boosting heat pump deployment through alternative models and skilled installers

LIFE-2023-CET-DHC: District heating and cooling: Enabling modernisation and fuel switch through support for investment plans and skills development

LIFE-2023-CET-PRIVAFIN: Crowding in private finance

LIFE-2023-CET-OSS: Integrated services for clean energy transition in buildings and businesses

LIFE-2023-CET-PDA: Project Development Assistance for sustainable energy investments

LIFE-2023-CET-ENERPOV: Alleviating household energy poverty and vulnerability in Europe

LIFE 2023-CET-ENERCOMFACILITY: European Energy Communities Facility

Consortia must be formed by at least three entities from three different eligible countries, except for the topics LIFE-2023-CET-BUILDSKILLS, LIFE-2023-CET-OSS and LIFE-2023-CETPDA.

LIFE CET 2023 projects: 10 tips for success

From our experience, which has led us to obtain funding for the four proposals we prepared together with our clients in last year’s call (where only five of the funded proposals came from Spain), we offer 10 tips for submitting a successful LIFE CET proposal.

  • Describe how the project activities and methodology will help achieve the objective of EU legislation on the Clean Energy Transition.
  • Clearly identify and describe the common needs, constraints, and barriers in the specific areas of project deployment and how the project will provide support, contributing to the EU strategy in these areas.
  • The project objectives should be aligned with the specific objectives of the topic; how the project will contribute to them should be clearly explained.
  • Align the project proposal with relevant EU strategies and directives and, where appropriate, with national and regional initiatives.
  • If the project is to include pilots, it is important to have them identified and secured at an early stage in the preparation of the proposal. Pilots should be at an appropriate scale, and be coherent and complementary. Different pilots may vary from country to country or region to region, representing and addressing different challenges while still providing an overall picture at EU level and indicating a wide scope for replication.
  • Explain the synergies between stakeholders in the value chain addressed, involving key stakeholders along the project value chain. Describe how project partners will work together, exchange experiences and results. Propose a clear and consistent methodology.
  • Explain the activities, in a credible and coherent way, linking state of the art with results and impact.
  • An important part of a LIFE CET proposal is the quantification of key performance indicators (KPIs) and the explanation of how to achieve them. Be ambitious and realistic.
  • If you are going to work with public bodies, bear in mind that they may need time to provide information, as different issues must go through several departments, with their corresponding internal justifications. These processes take time and should be considered in project development.
  • Develop a credible sustainability strategy that demonstrates how the implemented solutions will continue after the life of the project. In addition, the potential for replication or scaling up of project results must be evidenced. Exploitation of the project outcome must be well explained.

Managed by the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA), the CET is an integral part of LIFE, the EU’s flagship funding instrument for environment and climate action, whose main objective is to promote sustainable development and support innovative solutions.

With a budget of almost €1 billion for the period 2021-2027, LIFE CET focuses on boosting the clean energy transition in the EU. It provides financial support to projects that promote the implementation of regulations/legislation in relation to the implementation of renewable energy, energy efficiency and decarbonisation of the European energy sector. By facilitating the development and implementation of sustainable energy projects, the programme aims to accelerate the EU’s progress towards its key 2030 climate and energy target: to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, reducing emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

Expert person

Thomas Zimmer
Thomas Zimmer

Madrid Office

Consultant and LIFE CET expert – EU projects

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