PDA-Horizon 2020

Through Project Development Assistance (PDA), the European Commission aims to support public authorities (cities, regions, municipalities or groupings) and public bodies in developing bankable sustainable energy projects.

The PDA facilities are currently funded under the Horizon 2020 Energy Efficiency programme and aim to bridge the gap between sustainable energy plans and actual investments. They support all activities necessary to prepare and mobilise investments in sustainable energy projects. Examples are feasibility studies, stakeholder and community mobilisation, financial engineering, business plans, technical specifications, and procurement procedures.

Two PDAs have forthcoming calls up to 2020: ELENA, and the specific PDA topic within H2020.


The European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) provides grants for technical assistance focused on the implementation of energy efficiency, distributed renewable energy, and urban transport programmes. It is a joint initiative by the European Investment Bank and the European Commission.

Typically, ELENA supports large scale investment projects above EUR 30 million with a 3-year implementation period for energy efficiency and a 4-year period for urban transport and mobility. Up to 90% of the costs for technical assistance or project development can be covered. Smaller projects can be supported as well, but they should be integrated into larger investment programmes. Learn more about ELENA and how to apply for funding on the ELENA website external link icon.

H2020 – Aggregation – PDA

PDA call topic LC-SC3-B4E-13-2020 (Aggregation – PDA) offers project development assistance (PDA) to public and private project promoters such as public authorities, infrastructure operators, energy service companies, retail chains, property owners, and industry. It aims to launch concrete investments by supporting the development of technical, economic, and legal expertise required for the development of projects related to energy efficiency.

The PDA facility focusses on small and medium-sized energy investments of at least EUR 7.5 million to EUR 50 million and proposals can usually receive between EUR 0.5 million and EUR 1.5 million for project development assistance.

Proposals should focus on one or more of the following sectors:

  • Existing public and private buildings including social housing, with the aim to significantly decrease energy consumption in heating/cooling and electricity.
  • Energy efficiency of industry and service.
  • Energy efficiency in all modes of urban transport (such as highly efficient transport fleets, efficient freight logistics in urban areas, e-mobility and modal change and shift).
  • Energy efficiency in existing infrastructure such as street lighting, district heating/cooling, and water/wastewater services.

The PDA facility’s call is open from 5 March 2020 until 10 September 2020. Learn more about this funding opportunity on the tender portal external link icon of the European Commission.

PDA call for Circular bio-based cities

Another PDA call that is very relevant in the light of circular cities is “Pilot circular bio-based cities – sustainable production of bio-based products from urban biowaste and wastewater”. Although the proposal submission deadline has passed already, the call text provides a good reflection of what future PDA opportunities on circular cities will comprise.

Proposals to this call should contribute to the implementation of the Bioeconomy Strategy external link icon, and the EU Circular Economy Package external link icon.

Learn more about what scope and what expected impacts such a PDA proposal should have on the tender portal external link icon.