European energy infrastructure opportunities - PCIs
To help create an integrated EU energy market, the European Commission has drawn up a list of 248 projects of common interest (PCIs). These projects may benefit from accelerated licensing procedures, improved regulatory conditions, and access to financial support totalling EUR 5.35 billion from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) between 2014 and 2020.
The list of projects is to be updated every two years and the next update is foreseen for the end of 2015.
CEF funding 2014 - 2015
Under the 2014 CEF call, EUR 647 million was allocated to PCIs and 34 proposals were selected to receive grants for studies or works. The majority of projects involve electricity and gas transmission lines, but the list also features electricity storage projects, underground gas storage projects and LNG terminals. The bulk of funds went to proposals addressing urgent security of supply needs in the Baltic region.
A total of EUR 650 million in grants is set aside for PCIs in 2015.
First CEF Energy call for proposals in 2015
Under the first CEF Energy call for proposals in 2015, EUR 159 million was allocated to PCIs and 20 proposals were selected to receive grants for studies or works. Of those, 11 are in the gas sector and 9 in the electricity sector. The bulk of the support goes to projects in Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe as well as in the Baltic region.
Second 2015 CEF Energy call for proposals
The second CEF Energy call for proposals in 2015 was published on 30 June 2015 (indicative budget EUR 550 million) with a closing date of 14 October 2015.
A project of common interest should:
- have a significant impact on the energy markets of at least two EU countries such as by contributing to the integration of their networks;
- increase competition in energy markets by offering alternatives to consumers;
- enhance the EU’s security of supply by allowing countries to receive energy from a greater number of sources;
- contribute towards the EU’s energy and climate goals, for example by facilitating the integration of renewable energy into the grid.
Benefits for projects
Energy projects on the list can benefit from a number of advantages including:
- accelerated planning and permit granting procedures including a binding three-and-a-half-years’ time limit for the granting of a permit;
- a single national authority to deal with when it comes to the obtaining of permits;
- lower administrative costs for project promoters and authorities resulting from the streamlining of their environmental assessment procedure;
- increased transparency and improved public participation: projects will have to conduct public consultations, create information manuals, etc.
- increased visibility for investors resulting from inclusion on the list;
- the possibility of receiving financial support under the Connecting Europe Facility.