10. Validation and Implementation of Investment Concept

10.1 How is the investment concept validated?

Once the final investment concept and corresponding documents are submitted, the respective evaluator verifies if all necessary documents have been uploaded and contain the required content (e.g. if all chapters of the final investment concept have been completed). If the documents are incomplete or have content issues, the beneficiary is informed via the EUCF website user zone and has the possibility to resubmit the adjusted documents within seven days. 

The validation of the investment concept is conducted by a dedicated evaluation team, with evaluators from adelphi and Enviros. The investment concept is validated with the help of four quality criteria that have to be met in order to receive the second payment of the EUCF grant, corresponding to 30% of the total value and to proceed with the investment concept implementation.

An overview of the quality criteria for the investment concept validation is provided in the below:

Consistency

The information provided in the IC is consistent and in line with the information provided in the full application and in the EUCF Grant Agreement. The beneficiary has not undertaken any modifications that alter the overall rationale of the planned investment project, e.g. the IC targets the same investment sector(s); the investment size as well as the impact and financial indicators are equal or higher than those provided at the full application and Grant Agreement stage, etc. If values deviate from those previously provided and/or if indicators are more than 10% lower, a justification has to be provided by the beneficiary.

Coherence and plausibility

The information provided in the IC allows for a clear understanding of the planned investment (including individual components such as funding sources). The provided components are coherent and realistic without opposing/contradicting or ambiguous information. A plausibility check between components (e.g. simple payback period in relation to energy savings and investment size) confirms this assessment. In case components are not plausible, a justification has to be provided by the beneficiary.

Alignment with EUCF objectives

The proposed investment is aligned with the ultimate objective of the EUCF, i.e. to build a substantial pipeline of sustainable energy projects across cities in Europe by providing targeted financial, technical, legal and capacity building support. A sound IC in the field of sustainable energy has been developed by the beneficiary with the potential for successful implementation.

Realisation potential

A letter of support to the investment project by the mayor or other relevant political representative has been submitted together with the IC. The content of the letter demonstrates the political will of the municipality/local authority, grouping or local public entity aggregating municipalities/local authorities for the realisation of the investment project (e.g. by highlighting the relevance of the investment project for the municipality/local authority or local public entity, by describing the next steps planned to launch the investment, etc.).

Each investment concept is validated by two evaluators. If the investment concept complies with all quality criteria, it is positively validated. After the positive validation by both evaluators, the beneficiary receives a corresponding notification, feedback report and the payment of the final 30% of the total EUCF grant amount is disbursed within 30 days from the validation of the investment concept.

In case of negative validation by both evaluators, the beneficiary is notified via the EUCF website user zone about areas with the need for improvement in the investment concept and/or other submitted documents. The beneficiary has the possibility to make adjustments and/or provide justifications within 30 days. The resubmitted investment concept passes again through the validation process.

In case of discrepancies in the assessment of the evaluators of one or more quality criteria, a third evaluator validates the investment concept. If the third evaluator also identifies quality issues in the investment concept, the beneficiary is notified via the EUCF website user zone about the possibility for adjustments.

If, after resubmission of the investment concept, the evaluators come again to the conclusion that the quality criteria are not met, the investment concept is negatively validated. In this case, the beneficiary is notified and has to complete the Investment Concept Non-development report. If the investment concept is not resubmitted, the beneficiary receives a corresponding notification and is asked to complete the Investment Concept Non-development report.

10.2 Who validates the investment concept?

The validation of the final investment concept is conducted by a dedicated EUCF evaluation team, composed of evaluators from adelphi and ENVIROS.

10.3 How can a beneficiary receive support after the validation of the Investment Concept?

Following the support activities during the development of the investment concept, the second set of support accompanies the implementation of the investment concepts and aims at bringing in touch EUCF beneficiaries with the investor community. The EUCF accompanies the implementation process by organising matchmaking events, Communities of Practice and other capacity building events where EUCF beneficiaries are highly encouraged to participate. Moreover, the EUCF Helpdesk is available for beneficiaries to address the EUCF team in case of questions regarding the implementation of the investment concept, the procedures for monitoring and reporting and the potential aggregation/joint procurement of projects.

10.4 Are the beneficiaries obliged to prove how they have used the lump sums?

The beneficiaries should keep any invoice and financial report on records for monitoring purpose.

10.5 What happens if the Investment Concept cannot be completed in the foreseen time period or is negatively validated?

One month before the submission deadline, beneficiaries will receive an automatic reminder to submit the investment concept. If the beneficiary requires an extension of one month, she/he has to provide a justification and ask for approval by the EUCF coordinator via the EUCF website user zone. The EUCF coordinator will decide case-by-case if the explanation is justified or not. The beneficiary will receive a corresponding e-mail notification.  

In case the beneficiary is not able to complete the investment concept in the (extended) time period or the investment concept is negatively validated, she/he will be required to complete an “IC Non-development” report in the EUCF website user zone within 30 days. The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the challenges that occurred during the development of the investment concept and to reflect on the learnings from this process. In order for beneficiaries to keep the pre-financing of the EUCF grant amount, the EUCF coordinator has to approve the IC Non-development report. The final payment, i.e. 30% of the total grant amount, will not be disbursed.

Overall, the EUCF Team and the respective Country Expert assist municipalities/local authorities and local public entities aggregating municipalities/local authorities throughout the development process of Investment Concepts and strive to minimise such situations through the technical support provided. Nevertheless, if they occur, it is the objective to jointly learn from the experiences.

10.6 Do beneficiaries of the EUCF have to implement the investment concept?

EUCF beneficiaries are highly encouraged to seek funding from investors and financial institutions and implement their investment concepts.. Beneficiaries are able to share their experiences and hurdles by participating in matchmaking events, Communities of practice, and other capacity building events that are organised by the EUCF, and can benefit from the EUCF Helpdesk to address the EUCF team in case of questions regarding the implementation of the investment concept, the procedures for monitoring and reporting and the potential aggregation/joint procurement of projects.

10.7 Can a beneficiary use the EUCF support to develop an investment concept with a different scope from the one awarded during the application phase?

The EUCF beneficiary cannot use the EUCF support to develop an investment concept with a different scope from the one awarded during the application phase.

10.8 What are the monitoring procedures?

EUCF beneficiaries must commit to a monitoring period of two years, in which the implementation of the investment concept is supervised and documented. During this period, beneficiaries are required to notify the EUCF on the implementation process by submitting two simple monitoring forms after one and two years, respectively - on key figures of the results and impacts achieved through the implementation of the investment concept. Changing the scope of the investment concept is not accepted. The collection of data through the monitoring forms allows to identify and assess the impacts of the EUCF.

10.9 How can the measures developed in the investment concept be financed?

During the implementation of the investment concept phase, there is no preference among financing sources. The municipality/local authority or local public entity aggregating municipalities/local authorities can access any type of funding through banks, private investors, ESIF, national funds, local funds, crowd funding,, EPCs, etc. To learn more about financing opportunities for sustainable energy and climate action plans, please see Covenant of Mayors funding guideline.