Infrastructure: towards trans-European energy infrastructures

Regulation (EU) No 347/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council aims at ensuring timely development of the trans-European energy infrastructures. To this end, the Regulation identifies 12 priority corridors and areas covering electricity, gas, oil and carbon dioxide transport networks and establishes a regime of "common interest" for projects contributing to implementing these priorities. In order to be considered as a project of common interest (PCI), an infrastructure project has to meet the criteria defined in article 4 of Regulation 347/2013 (in particular electricity PCIs should contribute to market integration, competition and system flexibility, sustainability and/or security of supply).

For each of the 12 priority corridors and areas the Regulation establishes a Regional Group, which adopts a draft regional list of proposed PCIs. Then, after the Opinion of the Agency, the European Commission adopts the Union list of PCIs, if no objections are raised by the European Parliament or by the Council. The list of PCIs is updated every two years.

The implementation of PCIs is monitored on an annual basis by the Regional Groups and by the Agency.

Infrastructure projects with the “PCI label” will benefit from faster and more efficient permit granting procedures and improved regulatory treatment. PCIs  may also have access to financial support from the Connecting Europe Facility Regulation.

Further, the Regulation requires ENTSO-E and ENTSO-G to develop methodologies, for a harmonised energy system-wide cost-benefit analysis (CBA) at Union level for infrastructure projects, to be applied for the preparation of ten year network development plan developed by the ENTSOs. The Agency published a position on the ENTSO-E CBA methodology in January 2013 and then issued its Opinion in January 2014.

Promoter(s) of a PCI may request the concerned national regulatory authorities (NRAs) to allocate the project’s investment costs to the transmission system operators of the Member States to which the PCI provides a net positive impact. In case the concerned NRAs do not reach an agreement on the cross-border cost allocation (CBCA) within six months from application, the decision has to be taken by the Agency. The Agency issued a recommendation on CBCA decisions for PCIs in the first Union list.

When a PCI is deemed to incur higher risks as compared to the risks normally incurred by a comparable infrastructure project, Member States and NRAs have to provide appropriate incentives to that PCI. The Agency issued a recommendation on risk evaluation and on incentives.

The Agency is allocated several important tasks under this Regulation, including:

  1. Participation in the activities of Regional Groups for electricity priority corridors and areas;
  2. Contribution, if necessary, to the assessment of proposed projects by National Regulatory Authorities and support to ensure cross-regional consistency;
  3. Opinion on the draft regional lists of proposed PCIs;
  4. Monitoring of implementation of PCIs (a report is submitted to the Regional Groups on an annual basis);
  5. Opinion on the CBA methodologies developed by the ENTSOs and launch of the process for CBA updates;
  6. Decisions (upon condition) on PCI investment requests, which includes cross-border cost allocation as well as the way the costs of the investments are reflected in the tariffs;
  7. Recommendation on a common methodology to evaluate the incurred higher risks of PCIs and on incentives to be provided to PCI.