EUR 164m in funding for improving air quality and energy efficiency for Poland
Around EUR 164 million have been provided in funding as part of the EEA Grants program to Poland on efforts improving air quality, energy efficiency. The program includes geothermal energy applications, a particularly important topic in the context of cleaning up Poland's heating market.
Improving air quality and efficient use of energy in schools and enterprises, increasing the production of energy from renewable sources or combating climate change – support for these and a number of other initiatives is given today by the program “Environment, Energy and Climate Change”. Agreements on the implementation of the new program, financed by the Norwegian and EEA Funds, were signed by the Minister of Funds and Regional Policy, Malgorzata Jarosinska-Jedynak, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway in Poland, Olav Myklebust and the Minister of Climate, Micha? Kurtyka.
The event was also attended by Deputy Minister of Funds and Regional Policy, Grzegorz Puda and Vice President of the Board of the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, Artur Szymon Michalski.
The total budget of the Environment, Energy and Climate Change Program is EUR 164.7 million, of which EUR 140 million are the resources of the EEA Financial Mechanism and EUR 24.7 million in national contribution.
“We are launching today the largest support program in Poland and Europe under the 3rd edition of the Norwegian and EEA Funds. Caring for the environment is not only great undertakings, such as striving for a zero-emission economy, it also educates students about ecology and climate change. Program” Environment, Energy and Climate Change ”has a comprehensive approach to environmental protection. The funding will be directed to both the public and private sectors as well as non-governmental organizations. All initiatives planned in the program are important and necessary “- emphasizes Minister Malgorzata Jarosinska-Jedynak.
Depending on the recruitment process, they will be able to apply for support under the Program, including local government units and their associations, non-governmental organizations, universities, entrepreneurs (including industrial enterprises, municipal companies, including energy and heat producers, and owners of small hydropower plants).
The implementation of the Program was entrusted to the Ministry of Climate, which will cooperate with the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management and partners from donor countries: the Norwegian Environment Agency (NEA), the Norwegian Directorate for Water Resources and Energy (NVE), and the National Agency for Energy of Iceland ( AXIS). The eighth program already launched of the 3rd edition of the Norwegian and EEA Funds in Poland (out of nine programs managed by the Polish side) is a continuation of the environmental programs implemented with the support of the two previous editions of the Norwegian and EEA Funds.
The Ministry of Climate plans three groups of calls for proposals for co-financing. In the first of these, planned for the second quarter of 2020, it will be possible to apply for support for the protection of species and habitats, protection against invasive alien species and prevention of their spread, improvement of energy efficiency of school buildings, development of high-efficiency industrial cogeneration and implementation of investments in green and blue infrastructure in cities.
The second recruitment group, which will start in the second quarter of 2020, will focus on awareness-raising activities among students in the area of ??climate change mitigation and adaptation. As part of this round, you will also be able to apply for funding for activities related to the construction or modernization of municipal heating systems, elimination of individual heat sources or construction of installations for the production of fuel from wood and agricultural biomass.
The third group of calls is planned for the third quarter of the year, in which applicants operating in the area of ??building heat sources using geothermal energy, increasing the efficiency of energy production in existing small hydropower plants and enhanced implementation of the circular economy will be able to apply for funding.
The scale of co-financing varies depending on the area of ??support. Beneficiaries implementing projects related to the development of high-efficiency industrial cogeneration and the construction or modernization of municipal heating systems and removal of individual heat sources will be able to apply for the biggest money, from EUR 1 to 7 million. The level of funding in the Program will range from 45 percent to 100 percent and will depend on the nature of the area, as well as the maximum limits associated with applicable state aid regulations.
Strengthening bilateral cooperation with donor countries in the field of the environment
In their third edition, strengthening of bilateral relations with donor countries remains an important aspect of the implementation of the Norwegian and EEA Funds. An additional EUR 900,000 from the budget of the Bilateral Cooperation Fund will be allocated for the implementation of the Environment, Energy and Climate Change Program. These funds can be used for actions implemented jointly by Polish institutions and institutions from donor countries. From 10 January the Program Operator accepts applications for projects in the field of bilateral cooperation – they can be submitted by Polish entities in cooperation with entities from donor countries.
The Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy is responsible for coordinating the implementation of Norwegian and EEA Funds in Poland. He cooperates with the Financial Mechanism Office in Brussels. Individual programs of the third edition of the Funds are implemented by Polish public institutions. The exceptions are, as in previous editions, the areas ‘Civil society’ and ‘Social dialogue – decent work’, which are managed by donors (respectively by the Financial Mechanism Office in Brussels and Innovation Norway). Programs under Norwegian and EEA Funds will be implemented until 2024. The exception is the Bilateral Cooperation Fund, which will be implemented until April 30, 2025.
Source: EEA Grants website in Poland