The EU Commission announced investments for €800 million in cross-border energy infrastructure
On the 23rd of January EU Member States voted in favor of a proposal of the Commission to invest € 800 million in 14 European energy infrastructure projects.
These projects are considered to have major cross-border benefits, going in the direction of a connected, modern European energy market, one of the key elements of the Energy Union.
The EU funding to these projects comes from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the European support program for trans-European infrastructure.
The CEF has a budget of €5.35 billion for trans-European energy infrastructure and it has granted €2.59 billion between 2014 and 2017 to a total of 117 energy infrastructure projects.
The projects that will receive support under the current call are included in the latest list of Projects of Common Interest (PCI).
According to Commission Vice-President in charge of the Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič “CEF is one of those instruments that prove the EU’s added value. Today’s approved list showcases that Energy Union is an efficient tool to modernize and green our economies, to make them future proof in line with climate and environmental goals.”
The Commission has already proposed to renew the CEF as part of the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, with a budget of €42.3 billion for investments in European infrastructure networks, €8.7 billion of which to be allocated to energy infrastructure.
The vote of the Commission identified fourteen projects that will receive €800 million of funding in total: 7 for electricity, 2 for smart grids, 2 for CO2 cross-border transportation, 3 for gas.
In the field of CO2 cross-border transportation – that is becoming an increasingly hot topic – 2 projects have been granted funding.
One of the two regard the development of a infrastructure in the Port of Rotterdam to establish a cross-border CO2 network in North-West Europe that is open access but with the core located in the Port of Rotterdam.
In some cases, the projects that have been selected, besides strengthening the interconnected market, are valuable as they support other goals of the Energy Union.
The Baltic Synchronization Project – Phase 1 aims at the synchronous connection of Continental European Network (CEN) to the power systems in the Baltic States, today highly dependent from the dispatch facility of Russia.
The EU has never concealed its willingness to decrease the amount of gas imported by Russia.
High dependence on one supplier is always a threat to energy security, but Russia especially has proven willing to use its energy power as a leverage to exert political pressure on the EU as a whole, single Member States or bordering states.
Supporting cross-border energy infrastructure is essential to build a strong and resilient energy European market, and now we are €800 million closer to that goal.