This new Regulation aims to modernize, decarbonize, 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 decarbonization, 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, four lists of PCIs have been published:
- October 2103: The first list, established by EU Regulation 1391/2013 in October 2013, included four projects affecting Red Eléctrica de España.
- January 2016: The second list, established by EU Regulation 89/2016 in January 2016 had six projects affecting Red Eléctrica de España. In the selection process, priority was given for the first time to those projects that allowed member states to achieve the 10% interconnection target by 2020.
- November 2017: The third list, established in the EU Delegated Regulation 2018/540 in November 2017 had four projects in which Red Eléctrica was involved.
- October 2019: The Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/389 of 31 October 2019 published the fourth list of PICs and which came into force on 31 March 2020. 149 projects were included in the list: 100 for electricity (transmission and energy storage), 6 for smart grids, 32 for gas, 6 for oil and 5 for CO2 networks. The list is divided into 12 priority corridors and areas.
- November 2021: The Delegated Regulation (EU) 2022/564 of the Commission dated November 19, 2021, publishes the fifth list of Projects of Common Interest (PCIs), which came into force in April 2022. The list contains 98 projects, including 67 related to electricity (transport and storage), 5 for smart grids, 20 for gas, and 6 for CO2 networks. This list is divided into 12 corridors and priority areas.
As far as Spain is concerned, the electricity PCIs are included in Group 2, ‘priority corridor for electricity interconnections on the north-south axis of Western Europe (NSI West Electricity)’. The PCIs included in Group 2 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), Fontefria (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 Girones and Raïmats (ES).
- Electricity storage through pumped-storage hydroelectric power in Cúa (ES).
Red Eléctrica de España is involved in the four interconnection projects.
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: