Connecting energy markets and regions

EU projects of common interest can benefit from accelerated permitting procedures and funding.

Representatives of EU countries and the Commission meet to discuss regional infrastructure development.

Linking the energy infrastructure of EU countries.

Modernising and connecting energy infrastructure will help ensure secure, affordable and clean energy for all.

Protecting the EU's critical energy infrastructure from disruption and damage.


Modern energy infrastructure is crucial for the EU to integrate its energy market and to meet its energy and climate goals. To upgrade Europe's infrastructure, the European Commission has estimated that around €200 billion is needed during the current decade for transmission grids and gas pipelines. However, not all investments are commercially viable, and the market alone is likely to only provide half of the necessary investment. Therefore the EU is helping to fund new energy infrastructure projects all over Europe, as part of its Trans-European Networks for energy (TEN-E) strategy.

In November 2017, the Commission published a Communication on strengthening Europe's energy networks that reiterates the importance of building a well interconnected and integrated trans-European energy grid, accompanied by a Technical Q&A.

Developing a European energy grid

Many of Europe’s energy networks are ageing and not sufficiently interlinked. Modernising and connecting energy networks across Europe is crucial to improving energy efficiency, and ensuring the provision of secure, sustainable and affordable energy for all. A modern, interconnected energy network can allow a greater share of energy to come from renewable sources and lower costs for businesses and households. It will also mean energy can be shared across Europe, helping countries to better withstand outages.

Projects of common interest

Every two years, the EU draws up a list of Projects of Common Interest (PCIs). The chosen projects can take advantage of a number of benefits including faster permitting procedures and the right to apply for funding from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) – the EU's €30 billion fund for boosting energy, transport, and digital infrastructure between 2014 and 2020. Projects are selected which make a significant contribution to the implementation of the strategic energy infrastructure priority corridors and areas, as identified in the TEN-E strategy. These are areas that require urgent infrastructure development in order to connect EU countries currently isolated from European energy markets, strengthen existing cross-border interconnections, and integrate renewable energy.

Funding for Projects of Common Interest

The CEF will provide total funding of €5.35 billion for PCIs in energy for 2014-2020. Each year, a CEF call for proposals is issued for PCIs.

High Level Groups and Expert Groups

High Level Groups are forums that focus on energy issues in European regions that have been identified as being of high priority. Organised by the European Commission, they bring together representatives from EU countries in the region, transmission system operators, regulators, and in some cases other stakeholders.

Expert Groups provide advice to the Commission in areas of energy policy. They are composed of experts from the public and private sectors and meet to discuss specific issues and give policy recommendations.

The Expert Group on electricity interconnection targets meets regularly to discuss issues related to cross-border electricity interconnections.

Public acceptance of infrastructure projects

Building new power grids and other infrastructure projects allows gas and electricity to flow freely within and between EU countries to where they are most needed. However, the construction of these projects affects the environment and the daily lives of people who live nearby. The Commission has created tools  such as the Grid Infrastructure Communication Toolkit to help developers and planners engage with local people and address their concerns.

Protecting critical infrastructure

In order to ensure that the critical energy infrastructure we rely on for our energy needs is protected against possible terrorist threats, criminal activity or natural disasters, the EU set up the Programme for European Critical Infrastructure Protection (EPCIP).

Energy Infrastructure Forum

The European Commission organises the annual Energy Infrastructure Forum, where key issues related to infrastructure and EU energy policy are discussed. The participants include representatives of the Commission and other European institutions, EU countries, energy industry bodies, and NGOs.

Key laws

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