7. Evaluation and Selection of Beneficiaries
7.1 What is the procedure for evaluating the applications?
The evaluation of the EUCF applications is conducted after the close of each call for applications by a dedicated evaluation team, composed of evaluators from adelphi and ENVIROS (neither Energy Cities nor Climate Alliance, nor FEDARENE is involved in the evaluation process). Each application is evaluated individually by at least two different evaluators. The evaluators verify if Annex A.1 (SEAP, SECAP or plan of similar ambition), Annex A.2 (SEAP, SECAP or plan of similar ambition – Summary), Annex B (Proof of political commitment), Annex C (Self-declaration form), Annex D (Estimation of energy savings and/or renewable energy production) and Annex E (Estimation of investment size) have been submitted and contain the required content. In case of incomplete documents, the application is rejected and the applicant receives an email notification from the EUCF website user zone. Any questions/complaints on the outcome of the document check can be raised within 10 working days, counted from the day the e-mail was sent. Applications are then evaluated based on five evaluation criteria. At the end of the evaluation process, each applicant is informed about the final result with corresponding feedback through a feedback report. The best-scored applications are selected to receive EUCF support. Unsuccessful applications can seek support from the EUCF Helpdesk and are able to participate again in the next call for applications. Any questions/complaints on the outcome of the final results can be raised within 10 working days from the date the notification email is sent.
7.2 What are the criteria for evaluating the applications?
The EUCF applications are evaluated based on the following five evaluation criteria: (A1.) Investment size, (A2.) Energy savings, (B1.) Governance structure, (B2.) Stakeholder engagement and (B3.) Alignment with the EUCF objectives. For detailed information on “Evaluation criteria” and “how are applications scored”, please refer to the “Guidelines for Applicants”.
7.3 How long does it take to receive the evaluation results?
The evaluation process takes approximately two months from the end of the respective call. After this period, applicants will be informed about the final result.
7.4 How will I be informed about the final results?
After the finalization of the evaluation process, you will be informed via email about the results and a feedback report will be available in the EUCF website user zone. Any questions/complaints on the outcome of the final results can be raised within 10 working days from the date the notification email is sent.
7.5 Does the EUCF require a minimum or maximum investment size included in the IC?
There is no required minimum or maximum size of the project; however, in the evaluation process, the level of ambition of the expected size of investment of the planned investment project is set into relation to the other submitted applications in the region (regional call) as well as to the local context. Moreover, bundling/pooling of investments is appreciated and the overall coherence and plausibility of the elements are assessed.
7.6 At the evaluation phase is there a preference toward smaller local authorities than larger ones (e.g. a 20,000 population against a 2 million city)?
Overall, the vision is to support smaller and medium-sized municipalities and local authorities which often have less capacities. During the evaluation, the local context is considered for scoring criteria (A1.) Investment size and (A2.) Energy savings. So, for example, if the energy savings are very ambitious for a small local authority, this will be considered for the final score. Please note that in order to receive EUCF support, investment projects must present higher impacts on energy savings (in GWh/y) than on renewable energy production (in GWh/y). Applications in which the impacts on renewable energy production represent more than 50% of the total foreseen impacts will not be accepted.
7.7 What are the next steps in case my application is selected?
As a next step, successful applicants conclude a Grant Agreement to receive the EUCF support. The time period foreseen for the preparation and signature of the Grant Agreement is 2 (two) months as of the day when the successful applicant was informed about its selection for the EUCF support. After the signature of the Grant Agreement, each applicant has a period of 12 months to develop the investment concept.
If the successful applicant fails to sign the EUCF Grant Agreement within the given period, the EUCF reserves the right to annul the “awarding decision”, whereby consequently, an agreement with such applicant shall not be concluded, i.e., such applicant shall not be awarded with the respective financial support.
If applications with a higher ranking drop out or fail to sign the EUCF Grant Agreement, the next applicant originally placed on the waiting list will be contacted by email. The applicant will have 10 (ten) working days to express its interest in proceeding to the signature of the EUCF Grant Agreement. . In order to avoid that part of the available funds is not allocated, in the fourth EUCF call a cross-regions waiting list will apply after the evaluation. In case successful applicants fail to sign the EUCF Grant Agreement, funds will be assigned to the applications with the highest score in the evaluation, regardless of the region.
In parallel to the process of signature of the Grant Agreement, Country Experts organise a conference call with their respective beneficiaries for a capacity needs assessment to better understand the planned activities and to identify the needs for support to develop the investment concept. Beneficiaries are also able to ask any questions regarding the Grant Agreement during the conference call.
7.8 Will the application with a high replication potential be a positive element in the evaluation?
Yes, the alignment of the application with the EUCF objective is taken into account. EUCF objective is to build a substantial pipeline of sustainable energy investment projects across cities in Europe. If the application demonstrates the potential of developing a sound (and new) investment concept including a consideration of its potential for replication and up-scaling, this will be appreciated in the scoring of criteria B3.
7.9 Can I appeal to reconsider the decision made by the evaluation team?
Any questions/complaints on the outcome of the final results can be raised within 10 working days from the date the notification email is sent.
7.10 What happens in case my application is unsuccessful?
Unsuccessful applications will receive a feedback report of the evaluation and can seek support from the EUCF helpdesk team on how the application could be improved.
The support provided to unsuccessful applicants includes also a webinar organised by the EUCF to discuss and share the challenges met in the application process. Municipalities and local authorities, groupings and local public entities aggregating municipalities/local authorities that are not selected in one call for applications are able to participate again in the next calls.
Applications with scores above the quality thresholds for criteria in the category B, but initially not high enough in the ranking to be selected for funding (due to budgetary limits), are placed on a waiting list. These applicants might be invited to Grant Agreement preparation if applications with a higher ranking drop out or fail to sign the EUCF Grant Agreement. They will be informed accordingly (for more information, please see 3.2.3 in the Guidelines for Applicants). While in the three first EUCF calls the waiting list was organised per eligible region, in the fourth EUCF call, a single cross-regions reserve list applies. Therefore, in case successful applicants fail to sign the EUCF Grant Agreement, funds will be assigned to the applications with the highest scores, regardless of the region.