The EU executive made the announcement as part of its so-called infrastructure package aimed at making Europe’s energy networks fit for the twenty-first century over the next two decades.
It said that around €200 billion will be needed between now and 2020 to update gas pipelines and power grids.
The four priorities highlighted for the electricity sector included:
- An offshore grid in the North Sea and a connection from it to Northern and Central Europe to transport power to consumers in big cities and to store power in the hydro electric power plants in the Alps and the Nordic countries
- Interconnections in South Western Europe to transport power generated from wind, solar and hydro to the rest of the continent
- The integration of the Baltic Energy Market into the European market
- Connections in Central Eastern und South Eastern Europe to strengthen the regional network
"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," said Günther Oettinger, EU commissioner for energy.
"It is therefore essential that we pull together our resources and accelerate the realisation of EU priority projects."
Oettinger said that based on the priorities identified, the Commission will identify projects in 2012, which should benefit from EU financing and building permits.
It will also propose a new financial instrument that could support these projects after 2013. "Beyond grants, innovative market-based solutions may be proposed, such as equity participations, guarantees and public private partnership loans," according to the Commission.