The research and innovation actions will address clean mobility, energy efficiency and green urban planning, and offer the possibility to build joint initiatives and ramp up collaborations in synergies with other EU programmes. No specific figure is readily available for Greece but we may assume a total figure of between, say, €15-20 million for the six municipalities. Here it is noted that Athens has recently being carrying out a ‘greening’ exercise on a number of parks and spaces in the city squares.
The 100 Cities Mission will receive a total of €360 million of Horizon Europe funding covering the period 2022-23, to start the innovation towards climate neutrality by 2030
With Horizon Europe it is estimated that the total figure will be €15-20 million for the six cities.
Net Zero Cities
The benefits for cities include technical advice and financial assistance from a dedicated Mission Platform run by NetZeroCities, additional funding and financing opportunities and the possibility to join large innovation actions and pilot projects. The Mission also provides networking opportunities and exchange of best practices between cities.
The Commission will invite the selected cities to develop Climate City Contracts, which will include an overall plan for climate neutrality across a number of sectors
The Commission will invite the selected cities to develop Climate City Contracts, which will include an overall plan for climate neutrality across a number of sectors including transport and energy, together with related investment plans. These Contracts will be co-created with local partners and citizens, with the help of a Mission Platform run by the project NetZeroCities. The Mission Platform will provide the necessary technical, regulatory and financial assistance to cities.
There will be support for research and innovation activities for developing, testing, demonstrating and scaling-up new and innovative solutions for climate neutrality in cities across sectors (e.g. energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable, safe and smart mobility, digitalisation etc.) through traditional calls for proposals but also through Horizon Europe new European partnerships. Contributions to the Cities Mission are also expected through Horizon Europe partnerships for:
- Towards zero-emission road transport (2ZERO) to accelerate the development of zero tailpipe emission transport in Europe for a climate-neutral and clean road transport system;
- Connected and Automated Driving (CCAM) to demonstrate inclusive, user-oriented and well-integrated mobility concepts, fostering cooperation between different transport modes, with increased safety, reduced congestion and a reduced carbon footprint.
A number of Horizon Europe Partnerships can also contribute directly or indirectly to the Mission’s objective, and synergies can be made to maximise the impact of their potential. For example, dedicated calls for cities participating in the Mission will be organised for demonstration projects (e.g. on hydrogen-fuelled public transport to have in the Mission the “first hydrogen city” in the EU).
This Cities Mission is rooted in Research & Innovation (R&I), but activities supporting the Mission and its objectives under Horizon Europe will not be enough to cover the much larger funding and financing needs of cities in reaching climate neutrality. The cities themselves have limited resources and substantial investment will be needed to reach the objectives in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy, green transport, and many will rely on deployment of existing technology which lies outside the remit of the Horizon Europe Regulation – hence the need for the ERDF and RRF.
It is worth noting that the new Digital Europe programme (DG Connect) will support the transition to sustainability for cities through digital transition, in particular by helping cities procure interoperable, local data platforms that enable the management of cross-sectoral data flows and the engagement of a variety of stakeholders. The programme will also support the creation and validation of a data space for climate-neutral and smart communities. Examples of the validation projects could address mobility, energy management, zero pollution and climate mitigation.
The objective of the Cities Mission is to jumpstart research and innovation projects addressing clean mobility, energy efficiency and green urban planning.
FINANCING – The need for further financial support
InvestEU is a demand driven instrument that will provide repayable financing support (debt, equity) to a variety of eligible projects through implementing partners such as the European Investment Bank Group (EIBG), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and other National Promotional Banks. Supporting sustainable infrastructure, energy efficiency and clean transport are among InvestEU`s top priorities. Cities participating in the Cities Mission could therefore seek InvestEU supported financing for their green projects.