Projects of common interest (PCIs) are key infrastructure projects, especially cross-border projects, that link the energy systems of EU countries. They are intended to help the EU achieve its energy policy and climate objectives: affordable, secure and sustainable energy for all citizens, and the long-term decarbonisation of the economy in accordance with the Paris Agreement. Every two years, the European Commission draws up a new list of PCIs.
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.
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).
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Current Projects of Common Interest
In November 2017 the Commission published its third list of PCIs, which contains 173 projects; 106 electricity transmission and storage, 4 smart grid deployment, 53 gas, 6 oil, 4 cross-border carbon dioxide network.
Before and during the implementation of PCIs, comprehensive impact assessments and consultation processes are organised with a wide range of stakeholders, especially citizens and NGOs. The first list was published in 2013 and the second in 2015.
Regional Groups and their role in the PCI process
Work on PCIs is coordinated by Regional Groups, which are divided by smart grids, electricity and gas. The identification and selection process for PCIs are also explained in the section: Regional Groups and their role in the PCI process.
On 15 October 2018 the Commission opened a call for electricity projects to be submitted as candidates for the fourth PCI list.
Calls for PCI candidates in the Priority Corridors for gas, smart grids, cross-border carbon dioxide network, and oil will follow.
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.
Examples of projects of common interest
Below, you can find 10 examples of Projects of Common Interest and their benefits to the local communities, the society and the wider economy. These were published on 24 November 2017 as part of the third State of the Energy Union report.