An EU Regulation on guidelines for Trans-European Energy Infrastructure, EU Regulation 347/2013, came into force in May 2013. The Regulation aims to secure and diversify the Unions energy supplies. An element of this Regulation is the ‘Connecting Europe Facility 2014-2020’ (CEF) which aims to complete priority energy, transport and communications infrastructure projects so that each Member State would not have its energy security jeopardised by lack of appropriate connections.
Funding under the CEF programme will be invested in trans-European infrastructure, helping to meet the EU 2020 energy and climate objectives. The internal market for energy will be further developed through better interconnections, leading to enhanced security of supply and facilitating the transport of renewable energy in a cost effective manner across the EU. The funding available under CEF is intended to act as leverage for more funding from private and public investors.
Projects of Common Interest (PCI)
The energy Regulation contains guidelines for the identification of projects known as Projects of Common Interest (PCI). The PCI designation carries certain conditions and entitlements, including more streamlined planning and regulatory processes at Member State level and is a requirement for CEF funding.
A number of projects have been selected for designation as PCIs and were legally adopted. These projects concern electricity transmission, gas transmission and storage, and smart grids. These projects are important in terms of enhancing the resilience and efficiency of our energy networks, improving security of supply and facilitating the development of our renewable energy sector.
Whether these projects proceed will be a matter for the transmission system operators and/or private sector investors. However, the Regulation is designed to make sure that every effort will be made to ensure that stakeholders are facilitated and supported in accelerating the delivery of these important developments to Ireland’s energy infrastructure.
A list of the selected projects can be found on the EU Commission’s website.