ACER publishes its Position Paper on improving the effectiveness of the European framework for energy infrastructure development


The Third Package and the Energy Infrastructure Package (EIP) aim at facilitating the development of the European energy networks. The Agency believes that the EIP could and should play a stronger role in improving the efficiency of energy network development. This is vital for delivering the Energy Union strategy and the transition towards a more secure and sustainable energy system which will require major investments including in networks. The Agency and national regulatory authorities have been closely involved in the implementation of the EIP. Following the adoption of the second list of projects of common interest and, drawing from the experience gained in the last three years, this Position Paper outlines the current thinking of the Agency towards defining a more coherent and efficient architecture for infrastructure development in four key areas:  

  1. Providing a more comprehensive understanding of infrastructure needs
  2. Addressing these needs by enabling efficient network development;
  3. Providing reliable information and ensuring efficient monitoring;
  4. Enhancing coordination between decision makers on the financing framework.

The Agency is of the view that the TYNDPs should transparently identify and describe infrastructure needs, independently of the possible projects which could address them. The identification of the needs in the TYNDPs should allow Regional Groups to discuss and agree on the “European priority infrastructure needs”, and on the countries interested in solving a given infrastructure need. By providing a solid platform for all developers to propose solutions on an equal basis, such a process would pave the way to a sound PCI selection, building on detailed and reliable information to be provided by project promoters, in particular to allow an adequate and timely assessment of the proposed projects by NRAs.   

It should however be clearly acknowledged that in complex cases, selecting the most efficient project is far from straightforward, as a project can be dependent on future market and network developments or compete with other projects.  For these reasons, not all PCIs should necessarily be built.  

For the projects progressing towards implementation, the various financing and funding options made available by the EIP should be used, where necessary, based on the particular characteristics of each given project, as supported by the results of a monetised CBA. A clearer definition of which instruments should be used for which purpose is therefore needed, to help avoid overlaps, optimise the use of public funds and network tariffs, and facilitate an increased coordination of decision-makers, while maintaining their respective roles and responsibilities.  

Most of the proposals could be implemented under the current legislative framework, while some will need to be considered in the context of the envisaged EIP review.  

The Position Paper is available here