Energy

Electricity interconnection targets

To achieve its climate and energy goals, Europe needs to improve cross-border electricity interconnections. Connecting Europe's electricity systems will allow the EU to boost its security of electricity supply and to integrate more renewables into energy markets.

When a power plant fails or during extreme weather conditions, EU countries need to be able to rely on their neighbours to import the electricity they need. Without infrastructure it is impossible to buy and sell electricity across borders. Connecting isolated electricity systems is therefore essential for security of supply.

Reliable connections with neighbouring 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. For example, surplus renewable energy produced in one country could be used in another country where demand for electricity is high, via new interconnections.

EU interconnection targets

The EU has set an interconnection target of at least 10% by 2020, to encourage EU countries to connect their installed electricity production capacity. This means that each country should have in place electricity cables that allow at least 10% of the electricity produced by its power plants to be transported across its borders to neighbouring countries.

17 countries reported being on track to reach that target by 2020, or have already reached the target, but more interconnections are needed in some regions.

The 2020 target stems from a call of the European Council in October 2014. During the same time, the Council also called on the European Commission to report regularly on how to achieve 15% interconnectivity by 2030.

Expert group on electricity interconnection

To help achieve the interconnectivity targets, the Commission set up an expert group on electricity interconnection in 2016. The group is made up of 15 leading experts from industry organisations, academia and NGOs, as well as the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) and the European Networks of Transmission System Operators for Electricity and for Gas (ENTSO-E and ENTSOG). 

The group gives technical advice and presents reports, including on the interconnection capacity in the EU and public acceptance of the implementation. Following the group’s recommendations, the Commission proposed to implement the 2030 target, as outlined in the Communication on strengthening Europe's energy networks COM (2017) 718 final.  

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