EU hands out €910million for nine grid projects

EUROPE: EU member states will receive €910million to finance nine electricity interconnection projects in a second wave of funding from the Economic Recovery Package, the European Commission has announced.

The Estlink-2 line between Finland and Estonia is among the projects to be developed
The Estlink-2 line between Finland and Estonia is among the projects to be developed

Günther Oettinger, EU energy commissioner, said Brussels had "selected key projects which will help to create a more integrated energy network in Europe ensuring flexible energy flows across member states' borders".

These include the France-Spain interconnection, the Nordbalt line between Sweden and the Baltic States, and Estlink-2, the project to reinforce an interconnection between Finland and Estonia.

"If we want to fully exploit the potential of renewable energies, create a truly European power market, and keep electricity prices low for consumers, we need to connect the whole of Europe," said Paul Wilczek, regulatory affairs advisor for the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).  "These projects are a good start and the right way forward."

He particularly welcomed the funding for the "vital" France-Spain interconnection as "a great boost for the integration of wind power in Europe".

Oettinger said the interconnection was good for France and Spain and had "a broader EU effect" as a "starting point for further solutions", for example joining these countries with the rest of the Mediterranean. 

In total forty-three gas and electricity infrastructure projects in the EU will receive €2.3billion from this second batch of funding. The EU believes that by co-financing these projects, it will help to lever up to €22billion of private sector investment over the next three to five years.

The funds will be released to project developers over the next 18 months.

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