by Kara Perconti
The European Parliament yesterday gave its green light to the guidelines for the EU energy infrastructure package, which sets out corridors for Europe-wide energy infrastructure, seeks to speed-up permits and identifies priority projects, including an offshore electricity grid in the North Sea.
“This is really a breakthrough and will give a big push to much needed infrastructure: Rather than waiting up to 12 years or longer for a permit, developers of crucial cross-border infrastructure – such as pipelines or power grids – will have a decision in about four years,” said European Commissioner for Energy, Günther Oettinger. “This will save them time and money – and will help us creating a true European market where energy systems are physically connected with each other. Consumers and companies will profit because competition keeps costs down”.
The next step is for the European Council to formally approve the regulation.
The European Commission said it is hopeful that faster approvals will cut administrative costs, as well as moving the bloc closer towards a single energy market. The Commission has said enforcing a single energy market is a priority to encourage the equitable flow of power across borders to stimulate competition, help to reduce prices and make supplies more secure.
Developing electricity infrastructure is vital to developing the internal market, improving energy security and integrating large quantities of wind energy. The more than 140 gigawatt of offshore wind power currently being planned by European utilities, developers and governments by 2030 requires big advances in offshore grid development, and yesterday’s agreement takes us one step closer to achieving this.