Brussels, Belgium [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] The European Commission this week allocated over €903 million to electricity interconnection projects as part of its broader European Economic Recovery Plan, injecting new impetus into long standing electricity grid development plans within the EU. Nine projects received funding, including the vital France-Spain interconnection, which has been planned for a long time.
“Despite the importance of this connection, which will allow Spain to exchange more electricity with other European countries and ensure interconnectivity between continental Europe and the Iberian peninsula, the project has suffered continual setbacks since its conception in the 1980s,” said Paul Wilczek, Regulatory Affairs Advisor for the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). “This funding is a great boost for the integration of wind power in Europe and will improve the operation of Europe’s electricity markets and benefit consumers.”
Funds will also be allocated to a link between Sweden and the Baltic States, the Nordbalt line, as well as to reinforce an interconnection between Finland and Estonia, Estlink-2, amongst other transmission lines. To download the European Commission document please click here.
The European Commission’s ‘Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ published last week contains grid and market commitments that will boost the growth of wind energy in Europe, according to EWEA.
Smart growth and sustainable growth are two of the three priorities put forward by the European Commission for the development of Europe’s economy until 2020. These are intended to be implemented through seven ‘flagship initiatives’ of which one is ‘resource efficient Europe’.
The European Commission states in its plan that it will work to complete the internal energy market and implement the strategic energy technologies (SET) plan, promoting renewable sources of energy in the single market would also be a priority and to present an initiative to upgrade Europe’s networks, including Trans European Energy Networks, towards a European supergrid, “smart grids” and interconnections in particular of renewable energy sources to the grid (with support of structural funds and EIB).”
The strategy document claims that “the integration of the European energy market can add an extra 0.6% to 0.8% GDP” and that “meeting the EU’s objective of 20% of renewable sources of energy alone has the potential to create more than 600,000 jobs in the EU.”
The European Commission’s strategy will be presented to EU Leaders at the Spring Summit on 25-26 March.