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Clean energy for EU islands

Finance opportunities

European Rural Development Fund

Strengthen economic and social cohesion
Energy Transition Strategy / Decarbonisation Plan
Project implementation

The European Rural Development Fund aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union by correcting imbalances between its regions. The focus of investments under this programme lies on innovation and research, the digital agenda, support for SMEs and the low carbon economy. Areas that are naturally disadvantaged from a geographical viewpoint (remote, mountainous or sparsely populated areas, including Outermost Areas) benefit from special treatment. 

Depending on the operational programme:

  • Local authorities and administrative bodies
  • Social, cultural and educational institutions
  • NGOs, Companies, SMEs and associations

Horizon Europe

Research and innovation
Energy Transition Strategy / Decarbonisation Plan
Project development
Project implementation

Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation with a budget of €95.5 billion.

It tackles climate change, helps to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and boosts the EU’s competitiveness and growth.

The programme facilitates collaboration and strengthens the impact of research and innovation in developing, supporting and implementing EU policies while tackling global challenges. It supports creating and better dispersing of excellent knowledge and technologies.

It creates jobs, fully engages the EU’s talent pool, boosts economic growth, promotes industrial competitiveness and optimises investment impact within a strengthened European Research Area.


Legal entities from the EU and associated countries can participate.

Interreg Europe

Reduce economic and social differences
Energy Transition Strategy / Decarbonisation Plan
Project implementation

Interreg Europe is a cooperation programme, co-funded by the European Union. The European Union strives to reduce disparities in the levels of development, growth and quality of life in and across Europe’s regions. The programme contributes to this objective and runs from 2021 to 2027.

Interreg Europe has a budget of MEUR 379 to help local, regional and national governments across Europe to develop and deliver better policy. Interreg Europe creates an environment and opportunities for sharing solutions to regional development issues. Interreg Europe supports the exchange of good practices and policy learning among European regions in 29 countries - the EU27, Norway and Switzerland.

  • Public authorities (local, regional and national)
  • Managing authorities/intermediate bodies in charge of the Investment for Growth and Jobs Programmes or European Territorial Cooperation
  • Agencies, research institutes, thematic and non-profit organisations engaging with their local policymaker
  • Suggested: between 5 and 10 partners from a minimum of 3 countries

Citizen cooperatives

Renewable energies
Energy efficiency in buildings
Energy efficient transport
Energy Transition Strategy / Decarbonisation Plan
Project development
Project implementation

Citizen or energy cooperatives refer to a business model where citizens jointly own and participate in renewable energy or energy efficiency projects. In energy cooperatives citizens are involved in both the decision making and financial & economical participation.

Any person can be a member of the cooperative and participate in its financing schemes.


Research and innovation
Renewable energies
Energy efficiency in buildings
Energy efficient transport
Energy Transition Strategy / Decarbonisation Plan
Project development
Project implementation

Crowdfunding is the use of small amounts of capital from a large number of individuals to finance a new business venture. Using crowdfunding creates you the opportunity to raise the money quickly and easily for projects supported by the like-minded supporters who are eager to help.

Any person or legal entity can be a part of crowdfunding campaign, either as a initiator or a donor.

Connecting Europe Facility

Project development
Project implementation

The Connecting Europe Facility is a key EU funding instrument to promote growth, jobs and competitiveness through targeted infrastructure investment. It supports the development of projects in sectors of energy, digital services and transport.

  • Public authorities
  • Private companies
  • SMEs
  • Private non-commercial organisations, NGOs only in coordination or the agreement with national government.

LIFE Clean Energy Transition sub-programme

Project development
Project implementation

Building on the success of the Intelligent Energy Europe (2003-2013) and Horizon 2020 Energy Efficiency (2014-2020) programmes, the LIFE Clean Energy Transition sub-programme continues to support the delivery of EU policies in the field of sustainable energy, in particular, the European Green Deal, the Energy Union (2030 energy and climate targets) and the European Union’s 2050 long-term decarbonisation strategy.

The LIFE Clean Energy Transition sub-programme has a budget of nearly EUR 1 billion over the period of 2021-2027 and aims at facilitating the transition towards an energy-efficient, renewable energy-based, climate-neutral and -resilient economy by funding coordination and support actions (Other Action Grants) across Europe. These are actions of high EU added-value, which are targeted at breaking market barriers that hamper the socio-economic transition to sustainable energy, and typically engage multiple small and medium-sized stakeholders, multiple actors including local and regional public authorities and non-profit organisations, as well as consumers.

Projects are co-financed under the LIFE Clean Energy Transition sub-programme in the following five areas of intervention:

  • Building a national, regional and local policy framework supporting the clean energy transition; 
  • Accelerating technology roll-out, digitalisation, new services and business models and enhancement of the related professional skills on the market; 
  • Attracting private finance for sustainable energy; 
  • Supporting the development of local and regional investment projects;
  • Involving and empowering citizens in the clean energy transition.


  • Public authorities (local, regional, national)
  • Private commercial organisations
  • Private non-commercial organisation, such as NGOs

European Energy Efficiency Fund

Project development
Project implementation
Energy efficiency in buildings
Energy efficient transport
Renewable energies

The European Energy Efficiency Fund aims to support the goals of the EU to promote a sustainable energy market and climate protection. Maximizing its impact, EEEF facilitates investments in the public sector offering funding for energy efficiency and small scale renewable energy projects.

  • Regions
  • City Councils
  • Universities
  • Public hospitals
  • Other public entities

NESOI European Islands Facility

Project development
Project implementation

The NESOI European Islands Facility’s goal is to unlock the potential of EU islands to become the locomotives of European Energy Transition by mobilising more than 100 M€ of investment in sustainable energy projects to an audience of 2.400 inhabited EU islands and give the opportunity to test innovative energy technologies and approaches in a cost-competitive way.

In short, the NESOI European Island Facility has three key objectives:

  • Promote investments for energy transition in the islands
  • Facilitate the decentralization of energy systems
  • Contribute to EU policies and the achievement of 2030 targets

The NESOI Facility works in close contact with the Clean energy for EU islands secretariat - created to facilitate the clean energy transition on EU islands from the bottom up; and bringing it one step forward by providing to islands training, technical support, cooperation opportunities and robust funding opportunities to concretely convert Island Sustainable Energy Action Plans into Renewable Energy Sources (RES) plants, building and energy infrastructure retrofitting, energy bills reduction, local job creation and more

To achieve this, NESOI is in the process of building a platform able not only to provide first-step funding for islands energy transitions plans, but also a one-stop-shop for islands where to find ideas and effective organisational, technical and financial instruments for the whole value chain of a project.

Expected results

  • € 100 / mln of investments activated
  • 440 GWh / year primary energy savings
  • 160,000 ktCO2 / year of GHG avoided
  • Any public and private legal entity established in EU Member States (Outermost Regions are eligible, Overseas Countries and Territories are not)
  • Both single entities and consortia can apply for support

InvestEU Fund

Project development
Project implementation
Financial institution instrument

Under the InvestEU Fund, direct and intermediated financing solutions are provided for small and medium-sized companies, social or micro-enterprises and private and public project promoters that are deemed economically viable according to internationally accepted standards.

  • Small mid-caps
  • Small and medium-sized companies
  • Social or micro-enterprises

Revolving loan funds

Project implementation

Revolving loan funds (RLFs) are pools of capital from which loans can be made for clean energy projects, As the loans get reimbursed, the capital is then reloaned for another project. State and local governments can establish RLFs to support both their own energy upgrades (i.e., internal), and those in private sector (i.e., external).

A revolving loan fund provides access to a flexible source of capital that can be used in combination with more conventional sources. Often, the RLF is a bridge between the amount the borrower can obtain on the private market and the amount needed to start or sustain a business. For example, a borrower may obtain 60 to 80 percent of project financing from other sources.

State and local governments can set up RLFs, with borrowers (e.g. citizens and businesses) applying.

On-bill financing

Project implementation

On-bill financing is a mechanism where financing repayments are made monthly through an existing utility bill. In the on-bill financing business model, the utility does not only administer the program and collect payments via electricity bills, but it also finances the investments from its own capital. The mechanism worked well for small businesses that require simple, turnkey approaches to improve their energy efficiency and for private owners of residential buildings seeking financing for energy efficiency measures. This model generates annual cost savings for the building owner within the loan term and is often combined with grants to be cost-effective.

  • Citizens/home owners
  • Businesses

Soft loans and guarantees

Project implementation

A soft loan is a loan with no interest or a below-market rate of interest . Soft loans are often made by multinational development banks, affiliates of the World Bank , or federal governments (or government agencies) to developing countries that would be unable to borrow at the market rate.

Local and regional authorities in cooperation with financing institutions can offer to homeowners of private residential buildings loans and guarantees.