The EU executive has announced its first ever plan to use €9.1 billion from the EU’s 2014-2020 budget to help upgrade Europe’s energy infrastructure, according to strategic climate and energy needs.
The money will be available under the proposed EU budget for 2014-2020 in the form of newly-minted project bonds, grants and loan guarantees, according to the plan, unveiled in October.
The grants will be awarded to a select group of “common interest” projects which will benefit from a fast-track permit granting procedure.
Projects eligible for EU funding – such as the Southern Gas Corridor to bring gas from the Caspian basin to Europe – could then receive between 50-80 per cent of their funding from the EU. However, other major beneficiaries of projects that the Commission said could be eligible include:
The offshore grid in the North Sea to transport electricity produced by offshore wind parks
Innovative projects to store electricity
Gas pipeline projects enabling power to flow in both directions
“This is the very first time that the EU is co-financing the construction of large energy infrastructure from its regular budget,” the Commission said in an explanatory statement.
But it is not clear how the funds will be divided between renewable and fossil fuel projects, and the majority of the 12 earmarked priority infrastructure projects are for gas and oil pipelines.