Internal energy market: Commission releases €550 million for cross-border European networks

European Commission launches call for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to help finance key trans-European energy infrastructure projects

The Commission has launched a call for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to help finance key trans-European energy infrastructure projects.

Up to €550 million will be made available for projects which will contribute to develop a resilient Energy Union. Once in place, these projects will contribute to end energy isolation and to eliminate energy bottlenecks that prevent the completion of the European internal energy market.

This investment money will act as a catalyst for securing additional financing from private and public investors, the European Commission said.

With a total amount of €650 million for grants foreseen in 2015, this is the second of the two calls scheduled for this year. The deadline to submit applications is 30 September 2015. A decision on the selection of proposals to be funded is expected at the end of this year.

EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: “Well-connected and reliable energy networks are crucial to build a resilient the Energy Union. This will help ensure secure affordable and sustainable energy for all Europeans and businesses. As a key priority for the Juncker Commission, we have to make European public money support targeted and meaningful investments.”

In order to apply for a grant, a project has to be on the list of 'projects of common interest'.

A first list was adopted by the European Commission in October 2013. It consists of 248 key energy infrastructure projects which, when completed, would each ensure significant benefits for at least the two participating Member States, enhance security of supply, contribute to market integration, increased competition as well as to sustainability. The list will be updated at the end of this year.

Total EU financing for energy infrastructure under the CEF is €5.35 billion for the 2014-2020 period. The bulk of this money will go to grants, whereas a part of this amount will be dedicated to setting up financial instruments for infrastructure development.

These grants will contribute to carrying out both studies and works. However, proposals for works can only receive grants if the project will deliver significant benefits in a macro-regional context, such as security of supply, solidarity between Member States or innovation, and is at the same time not commercially viable.

In general, the amount of EU support cannot exceed 50 per cent of the eligible costs for both studies and works. In exceptional cases, when a project contributes significantly to the security of supply, enhances energy solidarity between Member States or offers highly innovative solutions, EU support may be increased to a maximum of 75 per cent of the costs for works.

The first call for proposals in 2015 under CEF Energy closed on 29 April. An indicative amount of €100 million was made available for infrastructure projects. The selected proposals to receive funding will be known by mid-July.