Projects of common interest

Projects of common interest

In 2013 the so-called Energy Infrastructure Package was approved, and its associated EU Regulation No. 347/2013 established the requirements and procedures for the identification of Projects of Common Interest (PCI) in Europe. Subsequently, in June 2022, the revision of the Regulation on Trans-European Energy Networks (EU) 2022/869 was adopted, which repeals the previous Regulation.

This new Regulation aims to modernise, decarbonise, and interconnect the cross-border energy infrastructures of the Member States with the objective of achieving the EU's climate neutrality goals by 2050. The new regulation no longer supports new natural gas and oil projects, placing a strong emphasis on the role of energy derived from renewable sources. Additionally, it updates the categories of infrastructure eligible for funding, with a focus on decarbonisation, and pays special attention to maritime electricity grids, hydrogen infrastructure, and smart grids. The latest regulation defines a new group of projects of mutual interest (PMI) in order to expand the scope of this regulation to third countries that contribute to the development of energy infrastructure priority corridors and areas.

Projects of Common Interest refer to energy infrastructure projects that are essential for the development of corridors or priority areas in the European Union. Any project declared as a project of common interest grants it a priority and strategic status, which means that it is eligible for certain benefits in order to speed up the implementation and commissioning process of the project. These types of projects benefit from improved regulatory conditions, simplified permitting processes and a greater level of public participation through public consultations, lower administrative costs, the possibility of receiving grants to conduct studies and, in exceptional cases, for construction work, while also allowing for the possibility of special financing under what is known as the “Connecting Europe Facility”.

 

The European Union’s list of PCIs is updated every two years, and is based solely on the latest TYNDP (Ten-Year European Transmission Network Development Plan) published by ENTSO-E.

To date, six lists of PCIs have been published: The latest list (first list of PCI/PMI projects of common interest and mutual interest) has been published by the Commission on 28 November 2023. The Commission will soon adopt the list of PCIs and PMIs in the form of a delegated regulation and transmit it to the European Parliament and the Council for approval, which is expected in 2024. The list contains 166 PCIs including 68 related to electricity (transport and storage), 12 in offshore grids, 65 in hydrogen and electrolysers, 5 in smart grids and 14 cross-border carbon dioxide grid projects. 

As far as Spain is concerned, the electricity and storage PCIs are included in Group 1 of the priority corridor for electricity interconnections on the north-south axis of Western Europe (NSI West Electricity)’. The PCIs included in Group 1 affecting Spain are:

  • Interconnection between Aquitaine (FR) and the Basque Country (ES) (Bay of Biscay project).
  • Interconnection between Aragon (ES) and Western Pyrenees (Pyrénées-Atlantiques) (FR).
  • Interconnection between Navarre (ES) and Landes (FR).
  • Interconnection Portugal - Spain, between Beariz - Fontefría (ES), Fontefría (ES) - Ponte de Lima (P) and Ponte de Lima - Vila Nova de Famalicão (P), including substations in Beariz (ES), Fontefría (ES) and Ponte de Lima (P).
  • Electricity storage through pumped-storage hydroelectric power in Navaleo (ES).
  • Electricity storage through pumped-storage hydroelectric power in Los Guajares (ES).
  • Electricity storage through pumped-storage hydroelectric power in Aguayo II (ES).
     

Red Eléctrica is involved in the four interconnection projects.

In addition, other projects affecting Spain have also been included in the list in the categories of:

  • Hydrogen interconnections: Portugal-Spain-France-Germany Corridor.
  • Electrolyser facilities: Tarragona, Bilbao, Cartagena, Valle Andaluz del Hidrógeno Verde and Asturias H2 Valley.
  • Hydrogen storage: H2 storage North – 1 y H2 storage North – 2
  • CO2 transport and storage in the French Pyrenees: Picasso Project promoted by Spain and France.

 

As part of the information related to transparency of the European Commission, a map can be found with the layout of the routes of the PCIs and other electricity transmission-related PCIs, as well as detailed individual fact sheets on each project.

 

List of Projects of Common Interest in which Red Eléctrica is involved

Projects included in the 2021 PCI list in which Red Eléctrica is involved are discussed below in greater detail:

The following projects on the Spanish-French border have been declared as PCIs:

Bay of Biscay Project.

PCI 2.7 France-Spain interconnection project between Aquitaine (France) and the Basque Country (Spain).

After analysing the various alternatives for reinforcing the connection between Spain and France, the joint analysis between RTE and Red Eléctrica concluded that the most suitable project for bolstering cross-border connections was a new interconnection between the Basque Country and the French region of Aquitaine, consisting of a 2x1000 MW Direct Current link connection, mostly subsea (submarine). This project, called the ‘Bay of Biscay’, will increase the exchange capacity between Spain and France to 5,000 MW. This project is currently in the study and public participation phase and is expected to be commissioned by 2026-2027.

In addition to being a PIC, this project is also classified under the “Electricity Highways” category, which implies that it has long-term strategic usefulness.

Projects through the central Pyrenees.

  • 2.27.1 Interconnection between Aragon (ES) and the Western Pyrenees (FR)
  • 2.27.2 Interconnection between Navarra (ES) and Landes (FR)

These two projects consider two new interconnections between Spain and France through the Pyrenees, proposed in the ‘Madrid Declaration’ of March 2015, that aim to increase the exchange capacity between Spain and France to 8000 MW.

These projects are currently in the definition phase and are expected to be commissioned in the 2023 horizon.

The following project on the Spanish-Portuguese border has been declared as a PCI:

Northern Spain-Portugal Interconnection.

PCI Project 2.17 Spain-Portugal interconnection between Beariz-Fontefría (ES), Fontefría (ES)-Ponte de Lima (PT) - formerly Vila Fría / Viana do Castelo - and Ponte de Lima-Vila de Famaliçao (PT) -formerly Vila do Conde.

This project is a conventional 400-kV overhead project that will connect Galicia with the Portuguese region of Minho and will enable the exchange capacity between Spain and Portugal to be increased and to meet the goal established by the government to achieve the complete integration of the Iberian Electricity Market. In addition, this interconnection will improve the integration of renewables on the Iberian Peninsula.

This project is currently in the permitting process and is expected to be commissioned in the 2024 horizon.


All projects classified as PCIs are included in the current national planning (2015-2020 Electricity Transmission Grid Development Plan), either in Annex I on Electricity Infrastructure for the period 2015-2020 or in Annex II on Post-2020 Actions.


All projects classified as PCIs are included in the current national planning (2015-2020 Electricity Transmission Grid Development Plan), either in Annex I on Electricity Infrastructure for the period 2015-2020 or in Annex II on Post-2020 Actions.