The Trans-European Networks for Energy (TEN-E) strategy is focused on linking the energy infrastructure of EU countries. As part of the strategy, nine priority corridors and three priority thematic areas have been identified.
The priority corridors, which cover at least two EU countries, require urgent infrastructure development in electricity, gas or oil. This development will connect regions currently isolated from European energy markets, strengthen existing cross-border interconnections, and help integrate renewable energy.
The priority thematic areas are smart grids deployment, electricity highways, and a cross-border carbon dioxide network.
The EU helps countries in priority corridors and priority thematic areas to work together to develop better connected energy networks, and provides funding for new energy infrastructure.
Priority electricity corridors
- North Seas offshore grid (NSOG): Integrated offshore electricity grid development and related interconnectors in the North Sea, Irish Sea, English Channel, Baltic Sea and neighbouring waters to transport electricity from renewable offshore energy sources to centres of consumption and storage and to increase cross-border electricity exchange.
- North-south electricity interconnections in western Europe (‘NSI West Electricity’): Interconnections between EU countries in this region and with the Mediterranean area including the Iberian peninsula, in particular to integrate electricity from renewable energy sources and reinforce internal grid infrastructures to promote market integration in the region.
- North-south electricity interconnections in central eastern and south eastern Europe (‘NSI East Electricity’): Interconnections and internal lines in north-south and east-west directions to complete the EU internal energy market and integrate renewable energy sources.
- Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan in electricity (‘BEMIP Electricity’): Interconnections between Member States in the Baltic region and the strengthening of internal grid infrastructure, to end the energy isolation of the Baltic States and to foster market integration; this includes working towards the integration of renewable energy in the region.
Priority gas corridors
- North-south gas interconnections in Western Europe (‘NSI West Gas’): Gas infrastructure for north-south gas flows in western Europe to further diversify routes of supply and for increasing short-term gas deliverability.
- North-south gas interconnections in central eastern and south eastern Europe (‘NSI East Gas’): Gas infrastructure for regional connections between and within the Baltic Sea region, Adriatic and Aegean Seas, eastern Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea, and for enhancing diversification and security of gas supply.
- Southern Gas Corridor (‘SGC’): Infrastructure for the transmission of gas from the Caspian Basin, Central Asia, Middle East and eastern Mediterranean Basin to the EU to enhance diversification of gas supply.
- Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan in gas (‘BEMIP Gas’): Gas infrastructure to end the isolation of the three Baltic States and Finland and their dependency on a single supplier, to reinforce internal grid infrastructures, and to increase diversification and security of supplies in the Baltic Sea region.
Priority oil corridor
- Oil supply connections in central eastern Europe (‘OSC’): interoperability of the oil pipeline network in central eastern Europe to increase security of supply and reduce environmental risks.
Priority thematic areas that relate to the entire EU
- Smart grids deployment: increase deployment of smart grids to help integrate renewable energy and allow consumers to better regulate their energy consumption
- Electricity highways: construction of electricity highways – large grids that allow electricity to be transported over long distances across Europe (e.g. from wind farms in the North and Baltic Seas to storage facilities in Scandinavia and the Alps)
- Cross-border carbon dioxide network: development of transport infrastructure for captured CO2.
Electricity interconnection targets
To achieve its climate and energy goals, Europe needs to improve cross-border electricity interconnections. Reliable connections with neighboring countries also lower the risk of electricity blackouts, reduce the need to build new power plants, and make it easier to manage variable renewable power sources like solar and wind.
In October 2014, the European Council called for all EU countries to achieve electricity interconnection of at least 10% of their installed production capacity by 2020.