The work on Projects of Common Interest (PCIs) is coordinated by regional groups, dedicated to each of the following types of energy infrastructure: electricity, offshore grid development, hydrogen and electrolysers, smart electricity grids, smart gas grids and CO2 networks, in line with the scope of the revised Trans-European Networks for Energy (TEN-E) Regulation.
PCI identification and selection process
Projects are selected as PCIs on the basis of 5 criteria. They must
- have a significant impact on at least 2 EU countries
- enhance market integration and contribute to the integration of EU countries' networks
- increase competition on energy markets by offering alternatives to consumers
- enhance security of supply
- contribute to the EU's energy and climate goals and they should facilitate the integration of energy from renewable energy sources
New PCI lists are established every 2 years since 2013.
Promoters of projects that are potentially eligible for PCI status can submit an application to the corresponding regional groups through open call for applications, launched by the Commission.
The regional groups assess the applications regarding their compliance with and relevance to the specific PCI selection criteria, as defined under Article 4 of the Regulation. Through this assessment, the PCI candidates are ranked by the Decision-Making Bodies of the regional groups.
EU- wide PCI list
The assessment results in a regional list of proposed PCIs, which the Commission adopts as an EU-wide list by means of a delegated act and submits to the European Parliament and the Council.
These institutions have 2 months to oppose the list, or they may ask for an extension of 2 months to finalise their position. The Parliament and the Council cannot request amendments to the list and if neither of them rejects it, the PCI list enters into force.
Establishing the first Union list under the revised Regulation
On 17 October 2022, the Commission kicked off the process for establishing the first Union list under the revised TEN-E Regulation with the first Cross-regional meeting on Projects of Common Interest and Projects of Mutual Interest. On the same day, it opened the submission window for projects under all infrastructure categories. The call for applications was open until 15 December 2022.
The second cross-regional group meeting took place in Brussels on 8-9 December 2022 and another was organised on 6-8 February 2023. The following series of cross-border regional group meetings took place 13-24 March 2023.
All meeting documents for these meetings are available in a dedicated CIRCABC.
Before starting the process establishing the first Union list under the revised Regulation, the Commission held on 7 October 2022 an informative session as part of the consultations on the cost-benefit analysis methodologies for the following infrastructure categories: hydrogen, electrolysers, smart gas grids, smart electricity grids, CO2 networks and energy storage.
- Q1 2024Entry into force
- November 2023 – January 2024Non-objection period by the co-legislators (extendable by 2 months)
- November 2023Adoption by the Commission of the Union list of PCIs/PMIs
- October 2023decision on the regional lists at high-level
- June 2023decision on the regional lists at technical level
- March – May 2023regional groups meetings on the assessment of candidate projects
- 6-8 February 2023cross-regional group meeting
- 8-9 December 2022cross regional group meeting
- 17 October 2022first meeting on PCIs and PMIs and launch of call for applications
- 7 October 2022informative session
- 7 October 2022launch of targeted consultation
There are 3 electricity infrastructure corridors identified as priority by the revised TEN-E regulation.
- North-South electricity interconnections in Western Europe (‘NSI West Electricity’)
- North-South electricity interconnections in Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe (‘NSI East Electricity’)
- Baltic energy market interconnection plan in electricity (‘BEMIP electricity’)
These require urgent infrastructure development in electricity to connect regions currently isolated from European energy markets, strengthen existing cross-border interconnections, and help integrate renewable energy.
Dedicated regional groups for each of these electricity corridors have been established to propose and review the candidate PCIs, which contribute the most to achieving EU’s energy and climate objectives by modernising the existing grid.
There are 5 offshore grid corridors identified as priority by the revised TEN-E regulation.
- Northern Seas offshore grids (NSOG)
- Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan offshore grids (BEMIP offshore)
- South and West offshore grids (SW offshore)
- South and East offshore grids (SE offshore)
- Atlantic offshore grids
These aim to support the necessary development of offshore renewable energy with the aim of reaching at least 300 GW of offshore wind generation installed in line with the Commission’s offshore renewable energy strategy, set out in a communication published in November 2020. With this approach, the revised TEN-E Regulation should move away from the project-by-project approach in offshore infrastructure planning towards an integrated and coordinated comprehensive approach that considers the offshore renewable potential of each sea basin, other uses of the sea and environmental protection.
There are 3 infrastructure gas corridors identified as priority by the revised TEN-E which will make up the future EU hydrogen network through new dedicated hydrogen transmission and storage infrastructure or repurposed from natural gas.
- Hydrogen interconnections in Western Europe (HI West): Concerned EU countries areBelgium, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Ireland. Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Austria and Portugal.
- Hydrogen interconnections in Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe (HI East): Concerned EU countries areBulgaria, Czechia, Germany, Greece, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia.
- Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan in hydrogen (BEMIP Hydrogen): Concerned EU countries are Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland and Sweden.
For each of these priority corridors, a dedicated regional group has been established to propose and assess the candidate PCIs, which would contribute the most to achieve EU’s energy and climate policy objective, by modernising the existing grid.
The deployment of smart electricity grids has been identified as one of the 3 priority thematic areas that relate to the entire EU.
Smart grid evaluation process
The group selects smart grid projects to be awarded PCI status after an evaluation process. The decision-making members come from EU countries and the European Commission, but it also includes representatives of national regulatory authorities, transmission system operators (TSOs) and distribution system operators (DSOs). In addition, it invites interested stakeholders to participate.
The methodology used for identifying and evaluating PCI candidates in the area of smart grids has been set out by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in the Assessment framework for project evaluations:
- Evaluation report of smart grid projects submitted for the fourth PCI list in 2019
- Evaluation report of smart grid projects submitted for the third PCI list in 2017
- Evaluation report of smart grid projects submitted for the second PCI list in 2015
- Evaluation report of smart grid projects submitted for the first PCI list in 2013
Smart grids selected as PCIs will benefit from higher levels of support from regulatory authorities through inclusion in national network development plans, political recognition, and eligibility for EU financial assistance in the form of grants for studies and works, as well as innovative financial instruments under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).
Only PCIs are eligible for funding from the CEF, as per the categories set out in the TEN-E Regulation (Annex II). Smart grid projects may also profit from funding via Horizon 2020 and the Cohesion fund.
The development of cross-border networks for CO2 transport and storage has been identified as one of the three priority thematic areas that relate to the entire EU.
A dedicated regional group has been established to propose and assess candidate projects in the area of carbon dioxide transport networks, which contribute the most to achieving EU’s energy and climate policy objective by modernising the existing grid.
Meeting documentation of the smart electricity grids priority thematic group
The existing natural gas grid and ongoing PCIs are suitable to transport biomethane. However, the uptake of renewable and low-carbon gases needs to be facilitated. The revised TEN-E Regulation introduces a new investment category, smart gas grids, to enable the introduction of these new gases into the grid to replace natural gas.
This investment category is not aimed at creating additional cross-border transmission pipelines. Instead, smart gas grids will cover network upgrades necessary for the integration of renewable and low-carbon gases, notably through the inclusion of digital systems and components integrating information and communications technology, control systems and sensor technologies and equipment enabling reverse flows of renewable, and low-carbon gases from the distribution to transmission level.
On 7 October 2022, the Commission will organise an informative session to discuss, amongst others, a draft methodology for assessing costs and benefits of smart electricity and gas grids projects.