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TRANS-EUROPEAN GRIDS : PARLIAMENT BACKS RULES TO BOOST ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURES.

Meeting on 12 March in Strasbourg, the European Parliament gave its green light to the draft regulation on trans-European energy infrastructure guidelines. The text, which defines corridors for trans-European energy grids and the criteria they must meet to be eligible for accelerated permit procedures, was the subject of an informal agreement by the EP and Council in November 2012. "This text will give real impetus to the deployment of very necessary infrastructure," reacted Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger to the EP's vote. Also pleased was the rapporteur, Antonio Correia de Campos (S&D, Portugal), who finds that the regulation introduces a radically new approach for trans-European energy infrastructure projects.

The text was adopted by 539 to 85, with 16 abstentions. It aims to speed up the approval of priority projects of common interest, like gas pipelines and power grids. EU funds would be available for a limited number of projects through the Connecting Europe Facility.

CORRIDORS AND CRITERIA

The regulation defines 12 EU priority corridors and areas in urgent need of development. "Projects of common interest" based on these corridors will be selected and they will subsequently benefit from a special regulatory framework, such as faster permit procedures. All selected projects will have to be necessary for at least one priority corridor or area listed in the regulation and meet specific criteria related to market integration, sustainability and security of supply.

SELECTION PROCESS

Project promoters will have to submit applications for obtaining project of common interest status. These will be reviewed by 12 regional expert groups made up of member state and Commission representatives, transport network managers and project promoters. However, decisions on the status of project of common interest will be limited to member states and the European Commission. A regional list of projects of common interest will be drawn up by each regional group, and in the final step of the procedure, the Commission will publish a "Union list" that will include all the selected projects.

TIME LIMITS

All projects of common interest on the final EU list will be eligible for the streamlined permit procedures in the member state where they are located. The overall binding time limit of three years and six months will be set for the permit granting process and may be extended by an additional nine months (the current average is ten years).

The regulation will enter into force 20 days after being published in the Official Journal of the EU.

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Publication:Europe Energy
Date:Mar 20, 2013
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