CEF gives over 600m to Energy

The Commission’s proposal to allocate €602 million of EU funds to eight international energy infrastructure projects through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for Trans-European Networks for Energy has received approval from EU Member States. The construction of smart energy grids, CO2 networks, underground gas storage, and an offshore LNG terminal are among the initiatives in the area of power that will now be eligible for financial support. The European Green Deal benefits greatly from increased cross-border energy infrastructure connections since it makes it simpler to add additional renewable energy to the grid. Increasing the supply security of the EU was also emphasised as a priority in the REPowerEU plan from earlier this year.

The project for which money totalling €307.6 million is most important is one for electricity transmission. It will assist in building the first undersea high-voltage electrical cable connection between Italy and Tunisia. A stronger integration of renewable energy sources and the replacement of gas-fired thermal generating will be made possible by this new connection, known as the ELMED interconnector, helping to meet EU climate mitigation goals and climate change targets.

GreenSwitch is a cross-border smart grid project for power between Slovenia, Croatia, and Austria. The €73.1 million in investment support from CEF will be used to upgrade electricity grids so they can accommodate an increasing number of new users (renewable energy production, heat pumps, and electric vehicles), optimise grid operation through digitalisation, and fully utilise seasonal load complementarities between the three countries. The Hydroelectric Power Station Silvermines in Ireland will get €4.3 million for studies to establish a hydroelectric pumped storage at a former mining site that will help lower price volatility, support market stabilisation, and boost the flexibility resource of the island’s power system.

To support the replacement of Russian gas supplies in line with REPowerEU goals, CEF will additionally provide funding for two further projects. For extension construction, the underground gas storage facility in Bilciurești, Romania, will receive €38 million. By expanding storage capacity and flexibility overall, this would considerably aid Romania and the region in reducing reliance on Russian gas imports during the winter’s peak demand period. The Polish city of Gdansk’s LNG terminal ($19.6 million) is another project that qualifies for financing to support research for its offshore component. The project will increase supply security and independence from Russian gas in the light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It will also help Poland and the surrounding area have more access to LNG.

Three projects for the capture and storage of industrial CO2 have also been chosen for funding, reflecting the significance of investments in decarbonisation to achieving climate neutrality in 2050:

The Antwerp@C CO2 Export Hub will receive €144.6 million to build the necessary infrastructure in the Belgian port of Antwerp so that industrial users in the region may transport, liquefy, and export their CO2 emissions to long-term storage facilities.

For research aimed at the construction of a CO2 liquefaction terminal in Ghent and CO2 pipelines connecting it to industrial emitters in the area, the Ghent Carbon Hub, also in Belgium, will receive €9.6 million.

The D’Artagnan Dunkirk CO2 Hub in France will get €5.2 million in funding for research on infrastructure in the Dunkirk harbour to collect CO2 from various emitters and liquefy it before export to long-term storage facilities.

The statement made today follows the call for projects issued earlier this year, the Commission’s assessment, and the Member States’ approval of the Commission’s proposal in the CEF Coordination Committee on December 7, 2022. The judgement will then be officially adopted in the ensuing weeks.

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