Financing the energy transition

CCNR study on energy transition towards a zero-emission inland navigation sector

Introduction

Addressing the issue of climate change is a political priority both nationally and internationally. The Paris Agreement, which aims to slow down the pace of climate change (with i.a. a maximum increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels by 2100) by reducing CO2 emissions, is definitely one of its key components. In their Declaration signed in Mannheim on 17 October 2018, the transport ministers of the Member States of the Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine (CCNR - Germany, Belgium, France, Netherlands, Switzerland) also reasserted the objective of largely eliminating greenhouse gases and other pollutants by 2050.

To further improve the environmental sustainability of inland navigation on the Rhine and inland waterways, the Mannheim Declaration tasked the CCNR to develop a roadmap to:

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35% compared with 2015 by 2035,
  • reduce pollutant emissions by at least 35% compared with 2015 by 2035, and
  • largely eliminate greenhouse gases and other pollutants by 2050.

The aforementioned Declaration also tasked the CCNR to take the initiative in developing new financial instruments to achieve the said objectives.

On 28 November 2018, the European Commission presented its strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate-neutral economy by 2050 - A Clean Planet for All, asking for a European policy on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions towards climate neutrality in 2050 for all transport modes including the inland navigation sector. In addition, the May 2018 Communication “A Europe that protects: Clean air for all” from the European Commission provides the policy framework for the reduction of air pollutant emissions such as NOx and Particulate Matter, covering, amongst other sectors, the transport sector.

The European Commission’s Green deal for Europe,of December 2019 and its “Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy” of December 2020, lay out priority policy areas, one of these being sustainable mobility, and actions to be realised to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

Finally, the Ministerial Declaration “Inland Navigation in a Global Setting” adopted in 2018 in Wroclaw under the auspices of the UNECE also stresses the importance of emission reduction for the future of inland navigation .

In this context, there is no doubt that all modes of transport shall make their transition towards zero-emission. The urgency is high for the Inland Waterways Transport (IWT) sector to develop measures to realise this transition, both for air pollutant emissions, which have attracted the most attention since 2014, but also greenhouse gases, which came into focus more recently.

To achieve these core environmental objectives, the same Mannheim Declaration stresses the need for new and updated financial instruments, since existing funding and financing mechanisms have so far not delivered the expected results. The Declaration entrusted the CCNR with the task of leading this development.

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Realisation of a preparatory study

To accomplish this task, it was decided to launch a preparatory study, to be carried out by EICB (Expertise- en InnovatieCentrum Binnenvaart) and involving many stakeholders.

Building on the question “how to finance the energy transition of the IWT sector?” and the list of factors in the field, the preparatory study was to identify a series of key research questions, based on interviews with as many of the stakeholders as possible (profession, EU institutions, financing institutions, national administrations, etc…):

  1. What are the possible triggers and financial drivers to enable a positive investment decision by shipowners to invest in technologies contributing to zero-emission performance?
  2. What can we learn from other transport modes?
  3. Which greening techniques fit into zero-emission development of IWT and what are the impacts?
  4. What is the potential of pay-per-use and leasing schemes for the IWT market?
  5. What is the potential of joint procurement?
  6. What can be expected from national and European programmes and products providing funding and financing?
  7. What is the potential for polluter pays schemes in IWT?
  8. What are the requirements and boundaries considering level playing field and modal share?
  9. What is the added value of a new European funding and financing scheme for IWT and how could this work?
  10. What accompanying measures and follow-up steps are needed?

The preparatory study was clearly intended to lay the groundwork for several other larger studies

  • Main results of the preparatory study undertaken by EICB 340 KB
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The overarching study project on the energy transition towards a zero-emission inland navigation sector

On the basis of the results of the preparatory study and the research questions collected, the CCNR’s plenary session in May 2019 was an important first step in the implementation of the Mannheim Declaration by deciding to launch an in-depth CCNR study on the “Financing of energy transition towards a zero-emission European inland navigation sector”.

Two other parallel studies, supported by the Netherlands and Switzerland, were to accompany this main study and deal respectively with:

  1. the polluter-pays principle in the IWT sector and
  2. the economic and technical assessment of technologies to achieve the zero-emission objective for IWT by 2050.

These three complementary studies form part of the overarching study project and should not be considered as stand-alone studies.

The main objectives of this overarching study project read as follows:

  • advising on the development of a European funding and financing scheme to support the energy transition of the sector,
  • thereby paving the way for political decisions based on evaluation and, where appropriate, implementation of the study conclusions.

The overall study structure can be illustrated as follows:

 

This structure was designed with two objectives in mind:

  • allow the running in parallel of the different research aspects in order to maximize efficiency and diversity among the institutes realising them.
  • ensure that all the results from those parallel studies can come together in the conclusion part “question I” on the added value of a new European funding and financing scheme for the energy transition towards a zero-emission inland navigation sector.

Three studies were therefore conducted in parallel, forming part of the overall CCNR study project on energy transition towards a zero-emission inland navigation sector, and relating to:

  • possible financial instruments for inland navigation tendered by the CCNR and carried out by a project consortium including EICB, Rebel, Pro Danube and Panteia,
  • polluter-pays schemes and corresponding market impacts and legal aspects tendered by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and carried out by a project consortium including EICB and Ecorys,
  • technical and economic assessment of the technologies already available or expected to become available for the transition of the IWT sector towards a zero-emission European inland navigation tendered by the Swiss Federal Office of Transport and carried out by DST (Edition1). Supplementary work on transitional pathways and a parametric model was tendered by the CCNR and carried out by DST and EICB (Edition 2).

The timeline can be described as follows:

 

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Final results

On 3 June 2021, during its Spring plenary session, the CCNR adopted the resolution 2021-I-6 131 KB 133 KB 125 KB prescribing the publication of the final study results. Those results do not prejudge the Central Commission's and its Member States’ position.

They consist in the publication of the following documents:

  • Deliverables corresponding to questions A, D, E, F (tendered by the CCNR).
  • Deliverables corresponding to questions G and H (tendered by the Dutch delegation of the CCNR).
  • Deliverable corresponding to question C (Edition 1 – tendered by the Swiss delegation of the CCNR).
  • Deliverable corresponding to question C (Edition 2 – tendered by the CCNR).
  • Deliverable corresponding to questions I (tendered by the CCNR).
  • A final study report on the overall study project and the main conclusions.

While the energy transition is an existential challenge for Rhine and European navigation, it is however accompanied by technological uncertainties and considerable costs, currently estimated at several billion euros, which cannot be borne by the profession alone.

In this context, the CCNR took note of the findings of the study, conducted in close consultation with the major European inland navigation players. In particular, the CCNR acknowledges the important role that a European funding and financing instrument, combining public and private means, could play to support the inland navigation sector’s energy transition. Such a mechanism should be accessible on the same conditions to all CCNR member state vessel owners.

Possessing as it does a European dimension, the CCNR considers this study to be a major step towards the implementation of the Mannheim Declaration and welcomes its pioneering role on discussions related to the financing of the energy transition.

The conclusions of the study represent a major influencing input to the commencement of discussions at Rhine, European and international level a European subsidy and financing mechanism for the energy transition. The CCNR reiterated its willingness to participate in these important exchanges, in conjunction with the profession, European institutions, financing institutions and national administrations, and also in the context of the PLATINA 3 project.

Reference document:

  • Final study report: 1796 KB
    on the overall study project and the final conclusions that can be drawn from the work already performed.
    • Deliverable A 991 KB
      on the possible triggers and financial drivers to enable a positive investment decision by shipowners to invest in technologies contributing to zero-emission performance.
    • Deliverable C 2320 KB
      (Edition 1) on the technical and economical assessment of greening techniques which fit into zero-emission development of IWT.
    • Deliverable C 1556 KB
      (Edition 2) complementing the findings from Edition 1 in order to come up, in particular, with more refined transition pathways towards zero emission.
    • Deliverable D 1546 KB
      on the potential of pay-per-use and leasing schemes for the IWT market.
    • Deliverable E 1700 KB
      on the potential of joint procurement for the IWT market.
    • Deliverable F 2386 KB
      on the expectations from national and European programmes and products providing funding and financing.
    • Deliverable G and H 1515 KB
      on the potential for polluter pays schemes in IWT and the requirements and boundaries considering level playing field and modal share.
    • Deliverable I 1627 KB
      on the added value of a new European funding and financing scheme for IWT
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Other documents

Press releases

  • Studies on energy transition towards a zero-emission European inland navigation sector - Intermediate results now available (30.10.2020) 1123 KB 1115 KB 1111 KB 1115 KB
  • Plenary session of Spring 2020 (18.06.2020) 577 KB 587 KB 576 KB 570 KB
  • Plenary session of Autumn 2019 (16.12.2019) 1871 KB 1866 KB 1862 KB 1847 KB
  • Plenary session of Spring 2019 (07.06.2019) 1455 KB 1454 KB 1452 KB 1447 KB

Presentations

  • Presentation of the Secretary General of the CCNR on the intermediary results of the studies
    – Ministerial Conference on Inland Navigation under the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union (20.11.2020) 334 KB
  • Presentation of Ulf Koerschgen, CCNR Commissioner, Swiss delegation, on the intermediary results of the study - PLATINA3 1st stage event, Budapest (07.04.2021) 1112 KB
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Partners and stakeholders

 

Authors of the studies

 

 

Contributing partners and stakeholders

 

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Disclaimer: The conclusions presented in this study and opinions expressed, are those of the authors and do not necessarily also represent the position of the Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine (CCNR) on the subject in question. Use of the knowledge, information or data contained in this document is at the user’s own risk. The CCNR shall in no way be liable for use of the knowledge, information or data contained in this document or any ensuing consequence.