Regional Cooperation to Implement the Internal Electricity Market and the European Grid

Planning new interconnections for the European grid and laying out the rules of pan-European integrated markets are only a beginning. Implementation of market mechanisms and construction of new physical lines present major challenges, some of which are well addressed through regional approaches.

Planning new interconnections to reach the EU 2030 objectives is a collaborative process driven from the European level. ENTSO-E is mandated to produce every two years the Ten-Year Network Development Plan (TYNDP), which presents and assesses all relevant pan-European infrastructure projects. The TYNDP is an example for pan-European solutions developed through a top-down regional approach. The TYNDP, which is already in its third edition, starts by a pan-European assessment of the capacity needs border by border. Regional groups within ENTSO-E’s System Development Committee are tasked with refining the European calculations, inter alia for the cost-benefit analyses of proposed infrastructure.

The TYNDP is the starting point to identify Projects of Common Interest. The PCI list is updated every two years by the European Commission through a process that makes a similar top-down use of European regions. 1

Beyond grid planning, regional cooperation also has an important leading role to play in the actual implementation of new grid infrastructure. Voluntary regional approaches bringing together Member States, NRAs, TSOs and other stakeholders can ease regulatory negotiations, technical discussions and public acceptability efforts necessary to build new overhead lines. For example, NSCOGI was set up by North Sea countries with such objectives. Similar or even stronger structures should be set up across Europe to push for the faster permitting procedures that the 2013 Infrastructure Regulation imposes.

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From Europe to the Regions: planning the development of the Grid.
The Ten-Year Network Development Plan builds on national and regional investment plans. ENTSO-E has formed six regional groups to identify and address network investment and development challenges reflecting regional particularities and needs.

  1. See the vision paper “Regulatory Governance for the Energy Union: Implement and Update” for details on how the PCI process should be further improved.