Regional groups and their role
The work on Projects of Common Interest (PCIs) is coordinated by regional groups, dedicated to each of the following types of energy infrastructure: electricity, gas, oil, smart grids and CO2 networks.
Information presented in the regional groups can be accessed via the Communication and Information Resource Centre for Administrations, Businesses and Citizens (CIRCABC), which is a collaborative platform accessible to the general public to make the easy distribution and management of documents possible. (Browse categories > European Commission > Energy > 13 TEN-E Regional Group Meetings).
Electricity regional groups
There are 4 electricity infrastructure corridors identified as priority by the Trans-European Networks for Energy (TEN-E) regulation.
- North Seas Offshore Grid (‘NSOG’)
- North-South electricity interconnections in Western Europe (‘NSI West Electricity’)
- North-South electricity interconnections in Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe (‘NSI East Electricity’)
- Baltic energy market interconnection plan in electricity (‘BEMIP electricity’)
These require urgent infrastructure development in electricity to connect regions currently isolated from European energy markets, strengthen existing cross-border interconnections, and help integrate renewable energy.
Dedicated regional groups for each of these electricity corridors have been established to propose and review the candidate PCIs, which contribute the most to achieving EU’s energy and climate objectives by modernising the existing grid.
The agendas and recordings for the electricity PCI regional group meetings (since October 2018) are available here.
Gas regional groups
There are 4 infrastructure gas corridors identified as priority by the Trans-European Networks for Energy (TEN-E). These require urgent gas infrastructure development to end energy isolation from European gas markets, improve security of supply and provide for alternative supply and transit routes and sources of energy.
- North-South gas interconnections in Western Europe (‘NSI West Gas’) - countries concerned are Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain
- North-South gas interconnections in Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe (‘NSI East Gas’) – countries concerned are Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
- Southern Gas Corridor (‘SGC’) – countries concerned are Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Cyprus, France, Germany, Hungary, Greece, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
- Baltic energy market interconnection plan in gas (‘BEMIP Gas’) - countries concerned are Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Sweden.
For each of these priority corridors, a dedicated regional group has been established to propose and assess the candidate PCIs, which would contribute the most to achieve EU’s energy and climate policy objective, by modernising the existing grid.
The agendas and recordings for the gas PCI regional group meetings (since first meeting on 7 November 2018) are available here.
Smart grid priority thematic group
The TEN-E Regulation defines priority thematic areas that relate to the entire EU and smart grid deployment has been identified as one of 12 trans-European energy infrastructure priority corridors and areas.
Smart grid evaluation process
The group selects smart grid projects to be awarded PCI status after an evaluation process. The 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 PCI candidates 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 fourth PCI list in 2019
- 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 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 (CEF).
Only PCIs are eligible for funding from the CEF, as per the categories set out in the TEN-E Regulation (Annex II). Smart grid projects may also profit from funding via Horizon 2020 and the Cohesion fund.
The agendas, documents and recordings for the smart grids thematic group meetings are available here.
CO2 networks thematic group
The TEN-E Regulation defines priority thematic areas that relate to the entire EU and cross-border carbon dioxide networks have been identified as such area.
A dedicated regional group has been established to propose and assess candidate projects in the area of carbon dioxide transport networks, which contribute the most to achieving EU’s energy and climate policy objective by modernising the existing grid.
The third list of PCI candidates from November 2017 included for the first time 4 projects in the area of carbon dioxide transport networks. The projects are located around the Northern Seas region and involve Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway. They are especially important for energy intensive industries to further reduce their carbon footprint.
A CO2 networks thematic group meeting was held on 7 November 2018
PCI identification and selection process
Projects are selected as PCIs on the basis of 5 criteria. They must
- have a significant impact on at least 2 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. A call for submission for candidate PCIs in electricity and gas was launched on 25 November 2020. On 14 January, the Commission opened a consultation seeking public and stakeholders’ views on the contribution of these candidate projects from an energy policy perspective. The candidate projects are then assessed by the regional groups, which 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.
Two calls for submission for candidate PCIs in the smart grids and CO2 networks thematic areas closed on 8 March (midnight). On 24 and 26 March, the Commission launched a 12 weeks consultation seeking public and stakeholders’ views on the contribution of these candidate projects from an energy policy perspective. The Commission is solely responsible for the appraisal of candidate projects in the smart grids thematic area and cross-border carbon dioxide networks.
After these assessments, the Commission adopts the list of approved PCIs via a delegated act procedure and submits the list to the European Parliament and the Council. These institutions have 22 months to oppose the list, or they may ask for an extension of 2 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.
- Member organisations of the Smart Grid Regional Group under the TEN-E framework
- Supervising the development of PCIs – a shared responsibility (16/05/2017)
- Terms of Reference for the Regional Group Smart Grid deployment
- Assessment framework for PCIs in the field of smart grids (Joint Research Centre - 2016)
- Regulation (EU) 347/2013 on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure
- Trans-European Networks for Energy
- Communication and Information Resource Centre for Administrations, Businesses and Citizens (CIRCABC)
- Consultation on the PCI list in electricity infrastructure 2018-2019
- Consultation on PCIs in gas 2019
- Consultation on the list of candidate PCIs in smart grids 2019
- Meeting on TEN-E cross-regional groups on electricity, gas, smart grids and CO2 thematic areas (17 November 2020)
- Smart grids projects outlook 2017, Joint Research Centre