Trans-European Energy Infrastructure: selection of Projects of Common Interest moving towards decarbonisation targets

Electricity and Gas project of common interests, ACER Opinion 2021

Trans-European Energy Infrastructure: selection of Projects of Common Interest moving towards decarbonisation targets

What is it about?

The EU Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) found improvements in the selection of projects of common interest (PCIs) for trans-European energy infrastructure such as a list of gas projects where sustainability criteria has been considered and a more objective process for selecting electricity projects. However, in both ACER Opinions on the matter published today, one on gas projects and another one on electricity's ones, ACER also notes shortcomings including lack of transparency in the assessment methodologies.

The opinions also include the view of National Regulatory Authorities on specific candidate projects and provide further recommendations for future PCI selection processes.

ACER acknowledges the efforts by the European Commission to enable a smooth selection process, despite the pandemic-related difficulties prevailing at the time of the PCI selection.

Selection of gas projects resulted in shorter PCI list

The path towards decarbonisation shows in the selection of a shorter list of projects in the field of gas, where sustainability criteria has been considered.

In its opinion, ACER also highlights positively the fact the consultation period for PCI candidates was extended and that the indicators used in the infrastructure needs' methodology were simplified and aligned with the projects assessment's methodology. Furthermore, consistency was improved by applying the same threshold value across Regional Groups for project selection.

More objective selection process for electricity projects

In the field of electricity, ACER welcomes the European Commission’s steps towards a more objective selection process. This has been achieved by reducing the number of potentially subjective benefits established by project promoters and by eliminating the enhanced socio-economic welfare approach used in the previous PCI selection round.

Shortcomings for an in-depth analysis

Due to a lack of transparency in the assessment methodologies, ACER was not able to assess fully the consistency of the application of the criteria and the cost-benefit analysis in accordance to the EU Regulation for Trans-European Energy Infrastructure. In addition, while the regulation requires the consideration of multiple scenarios when selecting electricity projects, only one scenario was used.

ACER calls on the Regional Groups, responsible for proposing and reviewing projects of common interest, to continue their work on further improving the transparency of the process and the methodologies for assessing the candidate PCI projects taking into account ACER’s recommendations included in its Opinions.

Access the electricity PCI Opinion (its Annex) and the gas PCI Opinion.