To help create an integrated EU energy market, the European Commission has drawn up a list of 195 key energy infrastructure projects known as projects of common interest (PCIs). These are essential for completing the European internal energy market and for meeting the EU's energy policy objectives of affordable, secure and sustainable energy.
PCIs may benefit from accelerated planning and permit granting, a single national authority for obtaining permits, improved regulatory conditions, lower administrative costs due to streamlined environmental assessment processes, increased public participation via consultations, and increased visibility to investors. They also have the right to apply for funding from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).
To become a PCI, a project must have a significant impact on energy markets and market integration in at least two EU countries, boost competition on energy markets and help the EU's energy security by diversifying sources, and contribute to the EU's climate and energy goals by integrating renewables. The selection process gives preference to projects in priority corridors, as identified in the TEN-E strategy.
Selection of Projects of Common Interest
Projects are selected as PCIs on the basis of five criteria. They must:
- have a significant impact on at least two EU countries
- enhance market integration and contribute to the integration of EU countries' networks
- increase competition on energy markets by offering alternatives to consumers
- enhance security of supply
- contribute to the EU's energy and climate goals. They should facilitate the integration of an increasing share of energy from variable renewable energy sources.
Candidate projects are proposed by their promoters. They are then assessed by so-called Regional Groups that include representatives from EU countries, the Commission, transmission system operators and their European networks, project promoters, regulatory authorities, as well as the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER). ACER is responsible for assessing electricity and gas projects' compliance with the PCI criteria and their European added value. The Commission is solely responsible for the appraisal of projects linked to oil supply connections in central and eastern Europe and cross-border carbon dioxide networks.
After these assessments, the Commission adopts the list of approved PCIs via a delegated act procedure.
The list of projects is then submitted by the Commission to the European Parliament and Council. These institutions have two months to oppose the list, or they may ask for an extension of two months to finalise their position. If neither the Parliament nor the Council rejects the list, it enters into force. The Parliament and the Council cannot request amendments to the list.
Funding for Projects of Common Interest
PCIs have access to a total of €5.35 billion in funding from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the EU's €30 billion fund for boosting energy, transport, and digital infrastructure between 2014 and 2020. This funding is intended to speed up the projects and attract private investors.
Current Projects of Common Interest
The first list of PCIs was published in 2013 and the second in 2015. The list is updated every two years to integrate newly needed projects and remove obsolete ones, and the next update will take place in 2017.
Work on PCIs is coordinated by Regional Groups. Information on these groups can be accessed via the Communication and Information Resource Centre for Administrations, Businesses and Citizens (CIRCABC) (when accessing this site, select Browse categories > European Commission > Energy > 13 TEN-E Regional Group Meetings). CIRCABC is a collaborative platform that makes the easy distribution and management of documents possible. It is accessible to the general public.
Work on Smart Grid PCIs is coordinated by the Smart Grid Regional Group.
Electricity Interconnection Targets
The Commission has set a target of 10% electricity interconnection by 2020. This means that all EU countries should have electricity cables in place that allow at least 10% of the electricity produced by their power plants to be transported across their borders to neighbouring countries. 17 EU countries are already on track to reach, or have already reached, the target, but more interconnections are needed in some regions.
- Current list of PCIs
- Technical information on the current list of PCIs
- Explanation on the list of PCIs
- Commission Staff Working Document on the PCI list
- Regulation on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure (EU) No 347/2013