Two of the Circular Repowering Programs will encourage technological renewal projects to provide greater energy efficiency to wind and hydroelectric generation facilities
Aid will be granted for the complete replacement of wind turbines (150 million) and the technological and environmental renovation of hydroelectric plants (42.5 million), with the possibility of incorporating storage
For the first time, the IDAE will grant aid to blade recycling plants, with circular economy criteria (30 million) and the objective of recovering more than 17,500 tons per year
The period for submitting applications will open on January 17 and end on March 10, 2023
December 15, 2022 – The Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO) has formalized today the first call for three aid programs dedicated, respectively, to wind circular repowering projects, hydroelectric renewal and recycling of blades of wind turbines, with a joint endowment of 222.5 million euros from Next Generation EU funds managed through the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan.
The initiative, under the title Circular Repowering Programs, seeks to provide greater energy efficiency and less environmental impact to current wind and hydroelectric generation facilities through technological renewal and the total or partial replacement -according to the different lines- of its components. In addition, for the first time, a specific program will also subsidize innovative circular economy proposals for the recycling of wind blades and other composite elements of the wind farms, in coherence with the provisions of the Circular Economy PERTE. The Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE), dependent on MITECO, will be in charge of managing these aids, which will be awarded on a competitive basis and will be implemented as a non-refundable grant that IDAE may advance to the beneficiary.
Technological and environmental modernization
Circular Repowering Program 1, aimed at existing wind power generation facilities for the complete replacement of wind turbines with more efficient ones, is endowed with 150 million euros and is estimated to allow at least 557 MW of this technology to be repowered.
Oriented to mini hydroelectric plants, Program 2 has a budget of 42.5 million. It aims to technologically and environmentally modernize installations of up to 10 MW, with the aim of optimizing their energy efficiency, as well as their better adaptation and integration in the territory. The objective is to renew 47 hydroelectric MW in this way.
Both aid programs may include hybrid storage systems, with an estimated additional capacity of 149 MWh.
For its part, Program 3 will incentivize with 30 million euros the start-up of innovative wind turbine blade recycling facilities. They must recover at least 50% by weight of the waste (blades and/or other components of the wind turbine that use composite materials, the most difficult to treat) and transform them into secondary raw materials that can be introduced into production processes. Thanks to this program, it is expected to reach a combined annual recycling capacity of 17,564 tons of blades and other compounds.
It is the first time that the IDAE, an entity dependent on the Secretary of State for Energy, has opened a line of aid for industrial projects that provide circular economy solutions, without associated renewable generation.
Given the incentive nature of the aid, only projects whose execution has not started prior to the application for the aid will be accepted. The projects must be completed before January 15, 2026 and must respect the principle of “not causing significant damage” to the environment.
In addition to the circular economy and environmental conservation requirements, in the evaluation of the projects, the facilities located in Just Transition and Demographic Challenge areas will be prioritized, as well as the initiatives with the greatest innovative load, job creation, professional recycling and use of the national/European value chain.
The application submission period will open on Tuesday, January 17, 2023, the date on which a dissemination and clarification session is scheduled to be held for interested parties, and will end on March 10 at 12:00 p.m.
More details about the characteristics of the call on the IDAE website.
Repowering, renovation, recycling and value chain
The repowering of existing electricity generation facilities contributes to generating a lower environmental impact and allows a better use of the renewable resource because it replaces obsolete or old systems with new, more efficient ones.