The European Commission (EC) has announced its intention to spend €444 million on projects designed to improve its energy infrastructure.

The 18 winning projects are classed as ‘priorities’ by the EC and cover electricity, smart grids and gas projects. The money for the chosen projects is coming from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the European Union’s (EU’s) funding support programme for infrastructure.

Of the 18 projects selected for funding, seven are in the electricity sector and will get a total of €176 million, 10 are in the gas sector and will receive €228 million and one smart grid project will get €40 million. The EU is pushing for ‘energy union’ by investing heavily to connect energy networks, which it claimed will increase security of energy supply and contribute to the sustainable development by integrating renewable energy sources across the EU.

Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: “This is another milestone in the setup of a cleaner, more competitive European energy market. An energy infrastructure which is fit for purpose is essential for renewables to thrive. Thanks to this upgrade, the proposals in the Clean Energy for All Europeans package are even closer to become a reality. The EU is demonstrating its commitment to delivering cheaper, more sustainable and secure energy to European consumers”.

“I welcome today’s agreement by the Member States,” added Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič. “These are important projects with major cross-border implications. They are a tangible sign of what the Energy Union means for Europe and how the European Union can help making our countries stronger by cooperating closely together.”

Among the key projects getting support in the electricity sector is SuedLink, with a grant of just over €40 million. It is Germany’s largest energy infrastructure project, which will involve almost 700 kilometres of high voltage cables being laid fully underground. The power line will be a vital link between the wind power generated in the north and the consumer centres in the south of Germany.

A €90 million EU grant will support the implementation of an innovative energy storage project, compressed air energy storage (CAES) in Larne, Northern Ireland. The grant follows a much smaller grant last year of just over €8 million.

The 330-megawatt (MW) CAES project is being developed by Irish renewable energy firm Gaelectric.It involves storing energy as compressed air in specially engineered caverns created within geological salt deposits at depths of around 1.5 kilometers below ground level at Islandmagee Peninsula. It is Europe’s only compressed-air energy storage project.

Source: Industrial Info Resources – 23 February 2017