T&D Europe welcomes the revision of the Trans-European Networks – Energy guidelines proposed by the European Commission (EC), as an essential instrument to strengthen and expand European power grids in the context of the EU’s commitment to climate neutrality.
With the European Union on-track to reach its 2020 renewable energy target, and renewable power expected to cover more than 60% of electricity demand in 2030, reliable and flexible power grids will be key for a successful energy transition. According to the EC’s own estimates, today’s grid investments have to almost triple and reach more than €65 billion annually in the coming decade to reach 55% greenhouse gas reduction by 2030. Yet, there is no sign that such massive investment is about to happen without policy action.
Against that background, T&D Europe supports the adoption of an ambitious TEN-E regulation, preparing Europe energy infrastructure for a climate-neutral energy future. While T&D Europe needs to further assess the proposed regulation, it welcomes the new focus on sustainability as must-have selection criteria for infrastructure projects to qualify as Project of Common European Interest (PCI), as well as the creation of an Integrated Offshore Renewables Development Plan and a common cost-benefit and cost-sharing methodology for offshore grid projects, that should boost the construction in particular of new hybrid projects, i.e. interconnectors which also feed in offshore renewables directly.
In addition, with more renewables connected to the grids, power networks flexibility and stability will become a major challenge. Digitalisation, new sensors and smart equipment will be needed both for transmission and distribution grids. T&D Europe therefore commends the European Commission’s decision to keep a “smart grids” project category within the scope of the TEN-E regulation and recommends to expand CEF funding support to distribution networks, where the energy transition investment is acutely needed. We regret that criteria have not been revised to make it easier for Smart Grid projects to qualify as PCI.