A ‘smart grid’ is defined in the TEN-E Regulation as an electricity network that can integrate in a cost efficient manner the behaviour and actions of all users connected to it, including generators, consumers and those that both generate and consume, in order to ensure an economically efficient and sustainable power system with low losses and high levels of quality, security of supply and safety.The TEN-E Regulation has identified smart grid deployment as one of 12 trans-European energy infrastructure priority corridors and areas.
On 19 December 2018 the Commission opened a call for smart grids projects to be submitted as candidates for the fourth PCI list. The call closed on 7 March at midnight. A consultation on the list of candidate projects was published on 18 March 2019.
Smart grids feature on the Commission’s list of projects of common interest (PCIs). PCIs are key energy infrastructure projects seen as essential to completing the EU’s internal energy market. The current list of PCIs contains four smart grid projects.
The Commission is keen to raise awareness about the thematic area of smart grids, as it is a key element in the clean energy transition.
The electricity system relies on its interconnected grid to deliver affordable, secure and sustainable energy to all Europeans. Smart grid facilitates the integration of renewable energy in the system, and contributes to the empowerment of energy consumers. The development of smart energy infrastructure should follow at the same speed in order to underpin this transformation.
Smart Grid Priority Thematic Group
The Smart Grid Priority Thematic Group selects smart grid projects to be awarded PCI status after an evaluation process. The Group's decision-making members come from EU countries and the European Commission, but it also includes representatives of national regulatory authorities, transmission system operators (TSOs) and distribution system operators (DSOs). In addition, it invites interested stakeholders to participate.
The methodology used for identifying and evaluating candidate Projects of Common Interest in the area of Smart Grids has been set out by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in the Assessment framework for project evaluations:
- Evaluation report of smart grid projects submitted for the third PCI list in 2017
- Evaluation report of smart grid projects submitted for the second PCI list in 2015
- Evaluation report of smart grid projects submitted for the first PCI list in 2013
Smart Grid Priority Thematic Group meetings
14 December 2018: 2nd TEN-E Thematic Group for Smart Grids meeting
4 October 2018: 1st TEN-E Thematic Group for Smart Grids meeting
Selecting smart grid projects for the 4th PCI list
The Group's activities in 2018-2019 follow a set timetable. Meetings started in September 2018 to initiate the identification and selection process for smart grid candidate PCIs for the next PCI list, which will be drawn up by the end of 2019.
All interested stakeholders are eligible to be invited to group meetings and to receive information about its work.
The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Programme and the Smart Grids Thematic Area
Smart grids selected as PCIs will benefit from higher levels of support from regulatory authorities through inclusion in national network development plans, political recognition, and eligibility for EU financial assistance in the form of grants for studies and works as well as innovative financial instruments under the Connecting Europe Facility.
The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) aims to accelerate investments in field of trans-European networks in transport, energy and telecommunications. Enabling and strengthening the synergies between the three CEF sectors is among its key priorities. Actions across sectors may enable costs or results to be optimised through the pooling of financial, technical or human resources, thus enhancing the effectiveness of EU funding. Work programmes shall be coordinated in such a way as to exploit the synergies between transport, energy and telecommunications, in particular in such areas as smart energy grids, electric mobility, intelligent and sustainable transport systems, joint rights of way or infrastructure coupling.
Only PCIs are eligible for funding from the CEF-E, as per the categories set out in the TEN-E Regulation (Annex II). Smart Grid PCIs may be eligible for financial support under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), if concerned project promoters can clearly demonstrate the significant positive externalities generated by the projects and their lack of commercial viability, according to the business plan and other assessment carried out.
In 2016, under CEF €40,489,013 were allocated to a work action related to the smart grids PCI 10.3 SINCRO.GRID (Slovenia/Croatia), which aims to solve network voltage, frequency control and congestion issues enabling further deployment of renewables and displacement of conventional generation by integrating new active elements in the transmission and distribution grids into the virtual cross-border control centre based on advanced data management, common system optimisation and forecasting involving two neighbouring TSOs and the two neighbouring DSOs.
Smart Grid projects may also profit from funding via Horizon 2020 and the Cohesion fund.
- Member Organisations of the Smart Grid Regional Group under the TEN-E framework
- Supervising the development of PCIs – a shared responsibility
- Terms of Reference for the Regional Group Smart Grid deployment
- Assessment framework for projects of common interest in the field of smart grids (2016)