29 November 2012

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NEWS

BACKGROUND

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Public consultation

Commissioner Oettinger welcomes faster decisions on infrastructure

Günther Oettinger, EU Commissioner for Energy said: "This is really a breakthrough and will give a big push to much needed infrastructure: Rather than waiting up to 12 years or longer for a permit, developers of crucial cross-border infrastructure - such as pipelines or power grids - will have a decision in about 4 years. This will save them time and money – and will help us creating a true European market where energy systems are physically connected with each other. Consumers and companies will profit because competition keeps costs down.''
On 27 November a political agreement was reached on the regulation on Guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure. European Parliament and Council still need to formally approve the regulation.

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European Investment Bank provides EUR 155m to support renewable energy investment in Ireland

Renewable energy generation from onshore wind farms across Ireland will be significantly increased using a EUR 155 million loan to Bord Gáis from the European Investment Bank (EIB). The EIB support will contribute to the construction and operation of six onshore wind farms, in Counties Tipperary, Clare and Kilkenny, with a total generation capacity of 141 MW. The expansion programme, representing a total investment of EUR 311m is expected to be completed in 2013/2014.
This initiative represents a key step in increasing renewable energy in Ireland and in helping to reduce fossil fuel use. The programme will increase the operational wind capacity of Bord Gáis wind farms from 234MW to 365MW, an increase of more than 50%, and the scheme will help Ireland to achieve the country’s target of ensuring that 20% of energy production is from renewable sources by 2020.

“The European Investment Bank is pleased to support long-term investment in renewable energy in Ireland. The Bord Gáis programme uses a free natural resource that exists in abundance in Ireland and will create jobs across the country. The European Investment Bank backs renewable energy investment across Europe and is pleased to work closely with Bord Gáis to ensure Ireland plays a key role. Completion of these projects will contribute to the achievement of the Irish Government’s renewable energy targets.” said European Investment Bank Vice President Mihai Tanasescu.

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EIB and Aquitaine Region commit €800m for sustainable development and energy efficiency

On 22 November the commitment of €800m for education, sustainable development and renewable energy was announced by the Aquitaine Region and the European Investment Bank (EIB), following a signing ceremony held at the Aquitaine Regional Council presided over by Alain Rousset, President of the Aquitaine Regional Council, and Philippe de Fontaine Vive, EIB Vice-President.
This is a sizable commitment – one of the EIB’s largest for a French region – targeting primarily lycées and training institutes, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro-enterprises. Given the credit squeeze currently affecting the market, the major advantage of these financing operations is that they will enable the Aquitaine Region to be granted loans with a long maturity on favourable financial terms as a result of the EIB’s AAA credit rating. This partnership also confirms the confidence shown in the Region’s robust financial health, and in particular its ability to finance its investments in a balanced manner through a combination of savings and borrowing.

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Internal energy market: Commission refers Poland and Finland to Court for failing to fully transpose EU rules

21. November, Brussels - The European Commission is referring Poland and Finland to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to fully transpose the EU internal energy market rules. To date Poland has transposed the Gas Directive into national law only partially. Finland has not fully transposed neither the Electricity nor the Gas Directive. These directives had to be transposed by the Member States by 3 March 2011.
"Enforcement of the internal energy market legislation is vital for the completion of the single market," said Commissioner Oettinger, the EU Energy Commissioner. “These infringement cases follow our Communication on internal energy market. The legislation lays the groundwork for a truly functioning market and we are serious about achieving this everywhere in the EU. Only then can consumers reap all the benefits a competitive market can offer.”

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State aid: Commission opens two in-depth inquiries into Italian support measures in energy sector in Sardinia

20 November, Brussels - The European Commission has opened two separate in-depth investigations under EU state aid rules regarding public support measures in the region of Sulcis-Iglesiente in Sardinia, Italy. Firstly, the Commission will investigate the compliance with state aid rules of support measures amounting to over €400 million granted by Italy since 1998 in favour of Carbosulcis, the company exploiting the Nuraxi Figus coal mine. Secondly, the Commission will verify whether subsidies that Italy intends to grant for the 'Sulcis project', i.e. the construction of a coal-fired plant fitted with a Carbon Capture and Storage Demonstration (CCS) Section, are in line with EU state aid rules. The opening of in-depth inquiries gives interested third parties an opportunity to comment on the measures. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

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TNCEIP set to continue two more years

On 3 October the Thematic Network on Critical Energy Infrastructure Protection held its seventh meeting in Brussels. Operators shared their experience on their collaboration with the authorities on the subject of security. During the meeting hosted by Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE), TNCEIP members also set the basis for a common position paper that, taking stock of progress in protection issues in the energy sector would, first and foremost, formulate ideas for the future of the EU policy. Future priorities of TNCEIP were also discussed.
While the first two years of TNCEIP have come to an end, the members unanimously supported its continuation, as the network revealed as a trustworthy and practical forum in which energy operators play the protagonist roles. Furthermore, the project will count with renovated impetus, as EC's Joint Research Center will come on board together with DG ENER in providing with content, technical support and logistics for the continuation of TNCEIP. The next meeting, to be hosted by JRC in Ispra (Italy), is already scheduled to take place on 8-9 January 2013, with “Cyber Security” under the spotlight.

TNCEIP is open to owners and operators of European electricity, gas or oil facilities and infrastructure. It focuses on security and related critical operations aspects. For further details on TNCEIP activities or for joining the meetings please feel free to contact ENER-B1-CEI-Security@ec.europa.eu.

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Background

Study on Liquefied Natural Gas solution in the Baltics published

The European Commission has published a study on gas supply issues in the East-Baltic region. According to the study, the LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) terminal in the East-Baltic area should be built on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. The study provides the strategic framework based on which concerned Member States and project promoters should make future decisions. It also identifies the infrastructure required for proper functioning of the internal market and security of supply in the region.

See full study here

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