Panels will be installed at waste sites in five mining towns as part of the latest, €2.4 billion ($2.57 million) round of investment from a fund set up to help coal-dependent European member states with the energy transition.

Romania will receive more than €480 million ($514.4 million) of EU money for solar projects at mining waste sites.

The latest round of Modernisation Fund awards included backing for eight mining-related solar sites in the country.

The town of Rovinari, which hosts a 1,320 MW coal-fired power plant that is being upgraded with a further 500 MW of generation capacity, will receive a total of almost €285 million for four photovoltaic sites on mining waste piles and an ash and slag deposit.

Similar solar sites will be funded at Pinoasa, Bohorelu-Jilt, Isalnita, and Turceni, in a round of awards announced by the European Commission this week.

The aim

The Modernisation Fund aims to help coal-dependent EU member states Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia with the energy transition.

The pot is funded by revenue from the sale of carbon emission permits under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Some 2% of revenue generated by permits sold in those member states backs the Modernisation Fund in most cases, although Croatia, Czechia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia hand over more of the receipts.

Romania also secured €10.5 million of the total €2.4 billion disbursed in the latest funding round for smart grid upgrades to the transmission system for a nuclear plant and renewables sites in Dobrogea.

Czechia was awarded €150 million for clean energy projects with a generation capacity of more than 1 MW, €100 million for communally-owned PV projects, and €50 million for solar for small municipalities, with the three prizes to be distributed under the country’s RES+ incentives program.

Lithuania secured €2.5 million for green hydrogen production capacity plus €10 million for clean power for energy intensive industries covered by the EU ETS and €15 million for electric vehicle purchase incentives.

Hungary’s share

Among the other awards, Hungary was allocated €51.4 million for energy storage facilities to back its grid, Croatia landed €40 million for its renewables generation incentives scheme, and Poland was awarded €11.1 million for clean power for its energy-intensive industries.

Each eligible member state is given access to a different proportion of the Modernisation Fund cash, ranging from 43.4% for coal-heavy Poland to 1.4% for Latvia.

Member states have until August 16 to submit non-priority projects for the next funding round, and until September 13 for priority awards.