Today EU countries agreed on the European Commission's proposal to invest €263 million in key trans-European energy infrastructure projects. The lion's share of the money will go to the building of gas infrastructure in the Baltic Sea region, but also to the electricity sector across Europe. In total, nine projects were selected following a call for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), an EU funding programme for infrastructure.
The selected projects will increase energy security and help end the isolation of EU countries from EU-wide energy networks. They will also help enhance competition on the European energy market and thus contribute to ensuring that consumers get best value for their money.
The European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: "Well-connected energy infrastructure is essential to the Energy Union. This EU support will help fill the still-existing gaps in energy infrastructure, putting us on the path to a truly connected European energy market. This is a prerequisite to a secure energy supply as well as an efficient use of our energy resources and integration of renewables to the grid."
In the gas sector, the allocated grants will cover, among others, the construction of the Balticconnector (EU support €187.5 million), the first bi-directional sub-sea gas pipeline between Estonia and Finland. Once completed, the interconnector will end the historical dependence of Finland from a single gas supplier. Balticconnector will enhance the security of supply in the Eastern Baltic Sea region; it will provide for the diversification of sources and routes and will enable competition on the regional gas market.
In the electricity sector, the list will include the construction of a new 100 km electricity line between Dobrudja and Burgas in Bulgaria (EU support €29.9 million).
Studies needed to launch the projects will also be supported. The list includes, among others, a preparatory study which will identify the technical requirements for the secure and reliable operation of the Baltic States' power system. The study (EU support €125 010) is essential to help evaluate whether the Baltic States' power system is capable of operating in an isolated mode and for analysing different possibilities for its synchronous connection with either the Continental European Network or the network of the Nordic countries. The list also includes a study on the Front End Engineering Design for an interconnection at Nea Messimvria in Greece (EU support €243 250). The metering and regulating station will help connect the Greek natural gas transmission system with the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project which is currently under construction.
Of the nine proposals selected for funding:
- 5 are in the gas sector (EU support worth €210 million) and 4 are in the electricity sector (EU support worth €53 million).
- 3 relate to construction works (€236 million) and 6 to studies (€27 million).
The European Commission proposal to select these projects was supported by the CEF Coordination Committee, which consists of representatives from all EU countries. Later this month the Commission will formally adopt the list of proposals which will receive financial assistance under CEF-Energy.
With a total of €800 million available for grants under CEF Energy in 2016, the second 2016 call for proposals with an indicative budget of €600 million is currently ongoing and will close on 8 November.