VILNIUS - The European Union outlined on Nov. 17 its energy infrastructure priorities for the next two decades, paving the way for aid for supergrids to integrate renewable energy and routes to deliver natural gas from the Caspian Sea, reports Bloomberg. The strategic “corridors” for the transport of electricity, gas and oil will help the 27-nation EU meet its climate-protection goals and boost the security of energy supply, reducing its dependence on Russia. Based on this map of priorities, the EU will in 2012 identify concrete projects that require urgent development, the European Commission, the bloc’s regulator, said in a statement in Brussels.
The EU must invest about 200 billion euros in energy transport, gas pipelines and power grids to attain its targets of cutting greenhouse gases by a fifth by 2020 compared with 1990 levels, increasing the share of renewable energy to 20 percent of consumption and raising energy efficiency by 20 percent, according to the commission. Only part will come from private investors, leaving a 100 billion-euro financing gap, it said.
“Energy infrastructure is key to all our energy goals: from security of supply, the integration of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency to the proper functioning of the internal market,” Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said in the statement. “It is therefore essential that we pull together our resources and accelerate the realization of EU priority projects.”
The electricity priorities also include linking the North Sea offshore grids with northern and central Europe and building interconnections to transport electricity from wind, solar and hydropower from the southwest to the rest of the continent. Strengthening the regional network in Eastern Europe and integration of the Baltic energy market are also on the list.
On top of the “southern corridor” to deliver gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe, the EU gas industry priorities include connecting the Baltics with central and southern Europe as well as developing the north-south link in Western Europe to remove internal bottlenecks, the commission said.