EU countries have agreed to invest a total of €150 million for 20 cross-European energy infrastructure projects, mainly in Central Eastern and Southern Eastern Europe, and the Baltics.
11 of the 20 projects - selected via a call for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), an EU funding programme for infrastructure - are in the gas sector worth a total of €80 million. Nine projects are in the electricity sector worth a total of €70 million. 17 projects are studies needed before work can take place - worth a total of €30 million, and three are construction works worth a total of €120 million.
The projects will increase energy security by contributing to the completion of an EU energy market and increasing the integration of renewable energy on the electricity grid. They will also help end the energy isolation of some EU countries from Europe-wide energy networks.
"The completion of a truly competitive EU-wide energy market is essential in order to turn the Energy Union into a reality. But without reliable and well-connected energy networks this will not happen. This is why we are investing in projects to integrate the market further and to diversify sources and routes, in particular in Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe as well as in the Baltic region," EU Commissioner for climate and energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, said.
The grants will cover seismic surveys for the Chiren underground storage expansion project in Bulgaria, works on an interconnection between Poland and the Czech Republic, and studies into the practice of odorising gas – the different practices vary across EU countries and are a major barrier to connecting gas markets. Other projects include a study into an undersea France-Ireland interconnector, work on a new overhead transmission line in Bulgaria, and an interconnector between Lithuania and Poland.