European Commission proposals for an Energy Union will include a target for 10% interconnection of electricity grids across borders. Read Commission’s Energy Union package of proposals here.
Interconnectivity – of both gas and electricity grids – is seen as a key for EU member states to wean off their dependence on Russian gas and manage higher shares of variable energy sources. The EU executive estimates that about €105 billion are required to upgrade Europe’s ageing electricity infrastructure, with €35 billion needed for cross-border interconnections alone. “An interconnected grid will help deliver the ultimate goal of the Energy Union, i.e. to ensure affordable, secure and sustainable energy,” the Commission says in its draft communication. The policy paper is not a legally-binding document but will set the course of policy action in the area for the years to come. Infrastructure development is also seen as a prerequisite for the uptake of renewable energy.
However, we believe that 10% interconnection is insufficient in the long run. Seizing the advantages of STE for EU energy security requires much more strengthening the internal electricity market through new transmission lines (especially between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe, also in Italy and Greece) and an improved regulatory framework, such as allowing for long-term transmission rights.