EU member states voted Wednesday on a Commission proposal to invest almost €800 million in key European energy infrastructure projects with major cross-border benefits.
According to a statement from the European Commission, the funding comes from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the European support program for trans-European infrastructure, and concerns aid for studies and works for a total of 14 projects: seven for electricity, two for smart grids, two for carbon dioxide (CO2) cross-border transportation and three for gas.
"Priority is given to projects that increase competitiveness, enhance the EU's security of energy supply through the promotion of a safe, secure and efficient network operation, and contribute to sustainable development and environmental protection," the press release read.
Electricity and smart grids account for €504 million, while €9.3 million will support studies on the development of a CO2 transport infrastructure, and €286 million has been allocated to the gas sector.
In the electricity sector, a €323 million grant was awarded to the Baltic electricity synchronization project, which aims to increase the security of supply and reliability of the power systems in the region through their synchronous connection to the Continental European Network (CEN).
According to the statement, the Baltic States remain synchronously connected to the central dispatch facility of Russia, hindering their full integration into EU electricity markets.
On smart grids, the EC approved a €91 million grant for the ACON SG project to modernize and improve the power grid between Czechia and the Slovak Republic. The support aims to contribute to the setting up of smart grids in the border region.
Moreover, €6.5 million in funding will be allocated to a study on the development of a CO2 infrastructure in the port of Rotterdam. The objective is to establish an open access, cross-border, carbon dioxide network in northwest Europe, with its core located in the Port of Rotterdam.
Finally, in the gas sector, the CEF will support, with nearly €215 million, the Baltic Pipe project, a new, bi-directional offshore gas interconnection between Poland and Denmark, which will be crucial for security of supply and market integration of the region.
Commenting on the vote, Commission’s vice-president in charge of the Energy Union, Maros Sefcovic, said: "Today's approved list showcases that Energy Union is an efficient tool to modernize and green our economies, to make them future proof in line with climate and environmental goals."
Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete underlined the necessity of ensuring the EU's energy infrastructure is sustainable, goal-oriented, and operational.
"We continue to invest in the right energy infrastructure projects which are essential to the EU's clean energy transition and security of supply.
"I am particularly pleased by the support given to the Baltic electricity synchronization project, which will help materialize the Baltic States' ambition to integrate their electricity system with continental Europe and improve security of supply in the Baltic region," he said.
By Hale Turkes