A public consultation has opened on energy infrastructure projects in the areas of oil and smart grids that have been submitted to the European Commission as potential Projects of Common Interest (PCIs). To receive PCI status, a project must be considered essential for completing the EU's internal energy market and for reaching the EU's energy policy objectives of affordable, secure and sustainable energy. The consultation will run for 12 weeks and will close on 26 June this year.
Projects chosen as PCIs can 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 are also eligible for access to financial support totalling €5.35 billion from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) from 2014-2020.
The first PCIs were selected in 2013, and the list was subsequently updated in 2015. A new list will be drawn up by the end of 2017 and the public consultation is an important part of the selection process. It asks respondents to give their views on whether the submitted projects significantly contribute to energy market integration, sustainability, security of supply and competition in Europe and are therefore essential from an EU energy policy perspective.