Parliament approved on Tuesday new rules for selecting which energy projects can receive EU funding and aligning the existing regulation with the EU’s Green Deal.
The legislation, agreed upon with Council in December 2021, sets criteria and the methodology for choosing energy projects of common interest (PCIs), such as high-voltage transmission lines, pipelines, energy storage facilities and smart grids, which would benefit from fast-track administrative procedures and be eligible to receive EU funds.
Boost hydrogen, phase out natural gas
During negotiations, MEPs supported the inclusion of the funding of projects related to the development of hydrogen infrastructure and carbon capture and storage. Eligible projects should also drive market integration and increase the security of energy supply.
The selected projects will have to help EU countries move away from solid fossil fuels such as coal, lignite, peat and oil shale. MEPs secured funding for projects that repurpose existing natural gas infrastructure for hydrogen transport or storage during a transitional period. Projects of this nature will be eligible to receive EU financial assistance until 31 December 2027.
Ending Cyprus and Malta’s energy isolation
New projects based on natural gas will no longer be eligible for EU funding. However, a temporary derogation will allow Cyprus and Malta to have one hydrogen-ready gas project each, funded with a view of connecting them to the EU network and operating under strict conditions.
“Today’s tragic reality of war in Europe and the European Union’s dramatically low level of energy security proves that, for years, the EU has made serious mistakes in assessing its needs, including in terms of trans-European energy infrastructure”, said lead MEP Zdzisław Krasnodębski (ECR, PL).
With the new legislation, “we are not only improving the infrastructure planning process, but also pushing for new types of projects of common interest, in line with the climate objectives. The revised TEN-E framework will encourage investments in hydrogen and CO2 networks, as well as offshore grid development”, he added.