The European Union paid out EUR 2.4 billion from its Modernisation Fund in its largest joint disbursement so far, to boost green transition in seven member states including Bulgaria, Croatia, and Romania. The three countries have received EUR 1,385 billion in total.
The grants from the Modernisation Fund are for 31 projects for renewable electricity generation, modernization of energy networks, and energy efficiency. They will lead to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in energy, industry, and transport, the European Commission said.
The fund is financed by revenues from auctions of emission allowances under the EU’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).
Bulgaria received EUR 197 million, compared to EUR 88 million for Croatia, and Romania got a EUR 1.1 billion tranche. The remaining countries are Czechia (EUR 1 billion), Latvia (EUR 5 million), Lithuania (EUR 1 million), and Poland (EUR 47 million).
Bulgaria intends to invest in the power grid while Croatia said it would use the funds to support renewable energy production
All four projects in Bulgaria are intended for the modernization and development of the electricity distribution grid to accelerate the electrification of transport, storage deployment, and the decarbonization and decentralization of energy consumption and production.
The country plans to develop information systems and physical infrastructure of the distribution grid, roll out smart meters, and integrate the Metering Data Management (MDM) System, according to the decision.
Croatia intends to use the money to support renewable energy production and energy efficiency measures. It plans to help public water and waste service providers install photovoltaic panels and energy storage capacity. The manufacturing industry is eligible for energy efficiency improvements and high-efficiency cogeneration.
Romania intends to invest EUR 800 million in solar, wind, and hydropower projects
Eight projects for new renewable electricity production capacities, district heating, and gas infrastructure to replace coal-powered energy are set to be implemented in Romania.
EUR 800 million is envisaged for support to investments in solar, wind, and hydropower systems. The scheme includes funds for self-consumption, among which for public institutions and beneficiaries in the agricultural and food sectors to become prosumers.
Romania also intends to support the modernization and rehabilitation of the district heating network with EUR 190 million.
The Modernisation Fund supports ten EU countries
According to the European Commission, the investments will help the selected countries to reduce dependency on Russian fossil fuels, meet their 2030 climate and energy targets, and contribute to the EU’s long-term commitment to reaching climate neutrality by 2050.
Total disbursements from the Modernisation Fund since January 2021 reached EUR 7.5 billion, benefitting 10 eligible member states: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.
The aim of the Modernisation Fund is to help EU member countries that have lower incomes in their transition to climate neutrality.
It supports investments in renewables, energy efficiency, energy storage and the modernization of energy networks including district heating, pipelines and grids, and the just transition in carbon-dependent regions, the commission said.