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EU seeks new powers for energy supply projects

The European Union is seeking powers to override planning objections and speed through energy projects that can enhance Europe’s security of supply, according to draft legislation seen by Reuters.

A “European coordinator” would help accelerate projects of EU-wide importance if they encounter “significant delays or implementation difficulties” under the draft proposals, said the news agency.

The proposals also indicate priorities for allocating €9.1bn ($12.5bn) in the EU’s budgetary framework for 2014″20 ” the first time the budget would include spending on energy infrastructure.

Priority projects include the Southern Gas Corridor for cutting the EU’s reliance on Russian gas, as well as an integrated offshore electricity grid in the North Sea and in the Baltic region.

The Nabucco pipeline to bring gas from the Caspian is seen as the leading option for cushioning Europe from interruptions in Russian gas supplies. A recent assessment of Turkmenistan’s South Iolotan gas field as the world’s second-largest, with up to 21.2 trillion cubic metres (tcm) of gas has improved the project’s feasibility.

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