Europe to invest $470m in energy infrastructure

Europe is to invest €444m ($473m) in energy infrastructure projects, the European Commission announced today.

Selected power, smart grid and gas projects are to be funded by the Connecting Europe Facility, the EU’s funding scheme for infrastructure.

Of the 18 projects selected, seven are in the electricity sector (winning support totalling €176m), 10 in the gas sector (€228m) and one smart grid (€40m). Five projects relate to construction works (€350m) and 13 to studies (€94m).

In the electricity sector, TenneT’s SuedLink project will receive €40.25m. The project is planned to connect wind power generated in northern Germany with consumer centres in the south through 700 km of underground high-voltage cables. It represents the nation’s largest energy infrastructure project to date, and the Commission said it “will ensure better integration of renewable energies and will also further enhance the cross-border exchange of energy with other EU member states”.

A 330 MW compressed air energy storage (CAES) project in Larne, Northern Ireland, being developed by utility Gaelectric and technology partner Dresser-Rand, is set to receive €90m. The project will store power from excess renewable generation in two underground salt caverns for later release. The project “will contribute to system flexibility and stability and facilitate the large-scale penetration of renewables into energy markets,” the Commission said.

And Slovenia and Croatia’s Sincrogrid smart grid project, which includes 10 MW of battery energy storage, grid integration of distributed generation resources such as small hydro and biogas plants as well as advanced control systems, is to be funded to the tune of €40m. The project will “enable current infrastructure to cope with the uptake of additional renewable energy and result in greater energy security without the need to build new overhead cables” according to the Commission.

Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroà…¡ à… efà„ovià„ said: “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.”

And Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Caàƒ±ete called the funding “another milestone in the setup of a cleaner, more competitive European energy market.”

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