Electricity Projects of Common Interest and Subsea Cables in the North Sea Approved by Norway

Berlin, 28 October 2014. Last week, the Norwegian government licensed the construction of two European energy infrastructure “projects of common interest” (PCI). The two 1400 MW subsea electricity cables will enable the North European region to exchange electricity and use the Norwegian hydro power potential, enabling greater use of renewables. Other grid developments aiming at renewables integration, such as the German DC links connecting the wind regions in Northern Germany to the South of the country, are also important developments to combat climate change, increase security of supply and improve market efficiency.

RGI welcomes these investment decisions, and invites project developers to use these projects as opportunities to understand better how to minimise and monitor impacts, especially in the marine environment. These projects can be used to collect environmental data and share information and lessons with other operators that are or will be constructing power lines, in particular those defined as PCIs. It is essential that all PCI projects are carried out to the highest standards of nature protection and with full respect for the participation rights of affected stakeholders and citizens.

Electricity PCIs are at the forefront of the transition to a secure, sustainable, renewables-based energy system in Europe, and are essential for achieving the post-2020 climate and energy framework of the EU. Other projects, such as those aiming for a stronger interconnectivity with the Iberian Peninsula, the Baltic region and Ireland should also be considered as priorities. RGI hopes that the development of additional interconnectors needed for the integration of growing shares of electricity from renewable sources will also receive strong backing from national governments and regulators.

RGI is ready to contribute to shaping the governance structures the EU needs so that the newly agreed targets can be met or exceeded while protecting nature and the rights and interests of all citizens. Coherence of, and synergies among governance mechanisms for energy infrastructure, efficiency, renewables and energy security are essential to deliver the necessary investments for the energy transition, stimulate the European economy and create local jobs. A more ambitious infrastructure target can only be successfully implemented if its delivery is compatible with the CBA methodology developed by ENTSO-E and the related PCI process following the TEN-E legislation.

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