On 02 May 2017 the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a new delegation agreement reinforcing the ELENA (European Local Energy Assistance) facility. ELENA provides grant funding to support the preparation of large-scale investment programmes in the area of energy efficiency, distributed renewables, and sustainable urban transport. The new agreement concerns a budget of EUR 30 million, of which EUR 20 million will support the preparation of energy efficiency and distributed renewable energy projects, and EUR 10 million will be dedicated to sustainable urban transport and mobility projects.
Established in 2009, the ELENA facility has awarded around EUR 100 million of EU support triggering an estimated investment of around EUR 4 billion on the ground. ELENA has already supported a variety of projects across the European Union, including:
ELENA is managed by the EIB and financed by Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation funding programme. ELENA funding is allocated on a first-come-first-served basis for the development of projects leading to investments above EUR 30 million. Past projects have received, on average, around EUR 1.8 million for project development assistance, leading to investments forty times higher. ELENA funding can cover up to 90% of eligible project development costs, which may include expenses related to feasibility and market studies; programme structuring; energy audits; financial structuring and/or preparation of tendering procedures and contractual arrangements. It does not cover costs related to the investment itself. Projects receiving an ELENA grant may also apply for an EIB loan, although this is not a prerequisite for applications to ELENA.