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).
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.
Identification and selection process for Projects of Common Interest
Projects are selected as PCIs on the basis of five criteria. They must:
- have a significant impact on at least two EU countries
- enhance market integration and contribute to the integration of EU countries' networks
- increase competition on energy markets by offering alternatives to consumers
- enhance security of supply
- contribute to the EU's energy and climate goals. They should facilitate the integration of an increasing share of energy from variable renewable energy sources.
Candidate projects are proposed by their promoters. They are then assessed by Regional Groups that include representatives from EU countries, the Commission, transmission system operators and their European networks, project promoters, regulatory authorities, as well as the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER). ACER is responsible for assessing electricity and gas projects' compliance with the PCI criteria and their European added value. The Commission is solely responsible for the appraisal of projects linked to oil supply connections in central and eastern Europe and cross-border carbon dioxide networks.
After these assessments, the Commission adopts the list of approved PCIs via a delegated act procedure.
The list of projects is then submitted by the Commission to the European Parliament and Council. These institutions have two months to oppose the list, or they may ask for an extension of two months to finalise their position. If neither the Parliament nor the Council rejects the list, it enters into force. The Parliament and the Council cannot request amendments to the list.
Regional Groups and their role in the PCI process
Work on PCIs is coordinated by Regional Groups. Information on these groups can be accessed via the Communication and Information Resource Centre for Administrations, Businesses and Citizens (CIRCABC) (when accessing this site, select Browse categories > European Commission > Energy > 13 TEN-E Regional Group Meetings). CIRCABC is a collaborative platform that makes the easy distribution and management of documents possible. It is accessible to the general public.
Work on Smart Grid PCIs is coordinated by the Smart Grid Regional Group.
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.
Factsheets on selected PCIs
Published on 24 November 2017 as part of the third State of the Energy Union report.
- PCI Factsheet Baltic synchronisation
- PCI Factsheet Balticconnector
- PCI Factsheet DE N-S Interconnection
- PCI Factsheet SINCRO.GRID
- PCI Factsheet_Biscay Gulf
- PCI Factsheet_Celtic Interconnector
- PCI Factsheet_CobraCable
- PCI Factsheet_EE-LV third Interconnector
- PCI Factsheet_IGB
- PCI Factsheet_Smart Border Initiative