EU targets energy link-ups in 20-year priority plan
Gas pipelines to the Caspian Sea, energy ties to the Baltic states and electricity links to the North Sea and North Africa are the European Union's priority energy "corridors" for the next 20 years, the bloc's executive said Wednesday, DPA reported.
The EU is committed to making its energy system climate-friendly and breaking down the barriers between national markets to boost competition. But the European Commission says that the lack of networks will make those goals difficult to reach.
The EU's energy targets "can only be achieved if you have the appropriate infrastructure," EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told journalists in Brussels.
The commission identified seven main bottlenecks in energy transport systems "for which urgent development is needed to deliver on EU policy goals of competitiveness, sustainability and security of supply," an accompanying statement said.
For electricity, the "corridors" are the North and Irish seas, to link planned wind-power stations to the EU grid; links across the Pyrenees and Western Mediterranean, to bring wind and solar power to the EU; and connections in Central and Eastern Europe, especially the Baltic states, where national grids are heavily fragmented.
For oil and gas, the corridors run across Turkey to the Caspian Sea; across the Baltic Sea from Scandinavia to Northern Europe; and across Central Europe from Poland to Greece.
The commission is set to name in 2012 the "projects of European interest" within those corridors which would be most likely to benefit from central EU funding.
Oettinger has in the past said that the EU should set aside funds in its budget to sponsor energy tie-ups such as the "Nabucco" gas pipeline to Azerbaijan and Iraq.
A week ago, he said that the total funding needed for energy projects and maintenance in Europe over the next decade would reach 1 trillion euros (1.35 trillion dollars).
Wednesday's briefing estimated the investment needed in energy transmission systems by 2020 at 200 billion euros, of which half would come from the private sector.