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News in Brief, BB200605

European parliament votes on Trans European Energy Networks amendments , beneficial for interconnection

30.01.2007

The European Parliament has adopted on 4 April the report of French MEP Anne Laperrouze on trans-European energy networks (TEN-E). The Parliament supported the 17 amendments the Energy Committee suggested for the adaptation of the TEN-E guidelines in the newly enlarged Union.

The compromise reintroduces two elements which were previously rejected by the Council of Ministers in its first reading. The first one is the Declaration of European Interest: it gives the priority to the cross border projects which, by integrating the networks, bring a clear added-value to the internal market or the security of energy supply. Such declaration entitles these projects to get appropriate priority for funding.

The second element is the reintroduction of the concept of a European Coordinator, designated by the Commission, who should facilitate the dialogue between the parties involved, contribute to the coordination of national procedures and report on project progress to the Commission. The European Coordinator would also play a role if priority projects declared of European Interest encounter significant delays or implementation difficulties appear.

The designation of the coordinator should be done in agreement with the Member State concerned and after having consulted the Parliament.

The specific European budget for TEN-E projects is largely insufficient to carry out the priority projects. The qualification 'European Interest' however entitles projects to get funding from other sources than TEN-E, namely the so called Structural or Cohesion Funds.

EWEA agrees with the Commission that interconnection is a key to create an undistorted internal electricity market and remove price differences between supply areas. The text adopted by the Parliament can move the process of interconnection forward not least towards the establishment of a grid for offshore wind energy. As argued in the EWEA 2005 Grid Report, appropriate interconnector capacity is crucial for large scale integration of wind power as well as the functioning of the internal electricity market:

“A large geographical spread of wind power on a system should be encouraged through... the establishment of adequate interconnection. From a systems and cost point of view that will reduce variability, increase predictability and decrease / remove situations of near zero or peak wind energy output”.

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