The Trans-European Networks - Energy (TEN-E) regulation was adopted in 2013 to ensure the proper functioning of the internal energy market and the security of supply, partly by promoting the interconnection of energy networks in the European Union. One of the key challenges for the revision of TEN-E with regard to its alignment with the goal of EU climate neutrality is the modification of the framework for energy infrastructure planning in Europe, by considering alternatives, in particular energy efficiency improvements
- The revision of the TEN-E regulation is an opportunity to align decisions on energy infrastructure in the European Union (EU) with the climate neutrality objective. Otherwise, there is a risk that substantial public funds are spent on energy infrastructure projects that could become stranded assets and delay decarbonisation.
- The governance of EU energy infrastructure choices framed by the TEN-E regulation is currently based on the expertise of gas and electricity transmission system operators. This expertise should be supplemented by a stronger consultation process with energy system stakeholders, as well as with a scientific body, to ensure full consideration of all options for decarbonisation in the development of framework scenarios and in infrastructure financing decisions, including energy efficiency and of sector integration potential.
- The governance of TEN-E could be improved by including the contribution of the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change (ESAB)_– established by the Climate Law – to the definition of cost-benefit analysis criteria and the types of long-term scenarios developed by the gas and electricity transmission system operators (“ENTSOs”). ESAB’s participation would increase the transparency of infrastructure planning and the consideration of non-grid solutions to decarbonisation.
- The introduction of hydrogen infrastructure into the scope of the TEN-E regulation as proposed by the European Commission should be complemented with sustainability criteria ensuring that this category is not used to finance fossil methane infrastructure in the medium term.