€150 million has been awarded to 20 European energy infrastructure projects under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) as the EU seeks to build a closer energy market and Energy Union. This follows the funding of 15 infrastructure projects from the EU’s Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) in May. [Engerati-15 European Energy Infrastructure Projects Receive Funding]
The bulk of this support will go to projects in Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe as well as to projects in the Baltic region.
"The completion of a truly competitive EU-wide energy market is essential in order to turn the Energy Union into a reality. But without reliable and well-connected energy networks this will not happen,” said European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete. “This is why we are investing in projects to integrate the market further and to diversify sources and routes, in particular in Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe as well as in the Baltic region.”
Electricity and gas infrastructure projects
The selected projects are intended to increase energy security and to contribute to the completion of a European energy market and the integration of renewable energy sources into the electricity grid.
Of the 20 projects funded, 17 relate to studies, such as environmental impact assessments (€30 million), and three to construction works (€120 million). Nine projects are in the electricity sector (€70 million) and 11 are in the gas sector (€80 million).
In the electricity sector, the list includes feasibility studies for the Celtic interconnector which will link France and Ireland – two previously unconnected markets – through a long-distance subsea cable. The construction of a new 400kV internal transmission line in Bulgaria will also benefit, this line being part of a cluster of four lines increasing the connectivity between Bulgaria and Greece.
In the gas sector, the allocated grants will cover, amongst others, studies for the Chiren underground storage expansion project in Bulgaria. Funding will also be allocated to innovative studies on how to remove a major obstacle to the free flow of gas in the EU, namely the different practices of odorizing gas in the transmission system. This study will identify solutions to allow bidirectional flows on a major north-south pipeline in Germany.
The two works projects are:
• Construction of the Lithuanian part of the Litpol Link between Alytus and the border with Poland (€27.4 million), which will integrate the power system of Lithuania and those of other Baltic States further into the grid of Continental Europe
• Construction on the Poland-Czech Republic pipeline interconnection (currently known as Stork II) between Libhost- Hat (CZ-PL) - Kedzierzyn (PL) (€62.7 million), which will contribute to north-south gas interconnection in the Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe priority corridor.
Funding for energy infrastructure projects
A total of €5.35 billion has been allocated to trans-European energy infrastructure for the period of 2014-2020 under the CEF. In order to be eligible for a grant, a proposal must relate to a project included in the list of 'projects of common interest'. The first list was adopted by the European Commission in October 2013. It consists of 248 energy infrastructure projects which, when completed, would each ensure significant benefits for at least two member states, enhance security of supply, contribute to market integration and further competition, as well as reduce CO2 emissions. An update is currently under way, which should be released before the end of the year.
The second CEF Energy 2015 call for proposals has an indicative budget of €550 million and the deadline for applications is 30 September 2015.