In a Nutshell

The Regulation on Trans-European Networks in Energy (TEN-E) sets out guidelines for cross-border energy infrastructure within the EU.  

Introduced in 2013 to improve physical interconnections between national energy markets and to ensure the security of energy supply, a revised TEN-E Regulation entered into force in June 2022. The revision was triggered by the publication of the European Green Deal which required amendments to align the TEN-E Regulation with the new climate and energy targets.   

As part of delivering on the aims of the legislation, the TEN-E regulation also outlines the process for selecting projects of common interests (PCIs). PCI are infrastructure projects recognised as essential to meeting the EU’s energy objectives, including greater competitiveness and improved interconnection between national markets. The revision of the regulation in 2022 introduced another category of projects entitled Projects of Mutual Interest (PMIs), which concern projects that involve at least one third country whilst bringing significant benefits to at least two EU member states. The PCI/PMI status is important since it makes projects eligible for funding under the Connecting Europe Facility for Energy (CEF). 

The TEN-E Regulation is significant for carbon removal since it identifies cross-border CO2 networks as a priority thematic area. This type of infrastructure involving CO2 transport and storage is needed for some CDR methods, such as direct air carbon capture and storage (DACCS) and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). By enabling the construction of CO<2 networks, the TEN-E Regulation and the CEF are therefore key to building a CO2 value chain for some CDR methods.  

What's on the Horizon?

The Commission will release its 7th PCI list by the end of 2025.  

A new call for proposals under CEF-Energy opened on 30 April 2024 and will close on 22 October 2024. EUR 850 million are available to co-finance studies and works for PCIs and PMIs.

Deep Dive

The TEN-E Regulation is one of three “Trans-European Networks”: transport (TEN-T), energy (TEN-E) and telecommunications (eTEN). Alongside the TEN, the Connecting Europe Facility has been created to stimulate investments in TEN sectors and to leverage funding from public and private sources.in TEN sectors and to leverage funding from public and private sources. 

The TEN-E Regulation’s role is to provide a common policy framework for cross-border energy infrastructure planning, support the modernisation and expansion of energy infrastructure, connect isolated countries to EU gas and electricity networks, secure and diversify the EU’s energy supplies and increase the integration of renewable energy sources. Initially primarily focused on enhancing the resilience of the EU natural gas and electricity networks, the revised regulation now focuses on four priority issue areas: electricity corridors, offshore grid corridors, priority corridors for hydrogen and electrolysers and priority thematic areas. The latter include smart electricity grid deployment, smart gas grids and cross-border carbon dioxide networks.  

Projects of Common and Mutual Interest  

The main feature of the TEN-E Regulation is the designation of trans-border energy projects as “Projects of Common/Mutual Interest” (PCI/PMI). Projects granted such status by the European Commission benefit from a streamlined permit-granting procedure, with their development facilitated by member states. While the absolute number of PCIs has been declining over time, especially when it comes to natural gas, the number of CO2 infrastructure projects granted PCI/PMI status has been steeply increasing. While this surge of CO2 network projects is promising, most PCIs are concentrated around the North Sea region. Some countries, mostly in Central and Eastern Europe, are not involved in any PCIs related to CO2 networks, including Estonia, Romania, Austria, Malta, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Portugal. Moreover, several large emitting countries like France, Italy, Poland and Spain are underrepresented in the PCI list compared to their relative and absolute emissions. For a truly European-wide CO2 network to be developed, these member states could better incentivise the development of national and cross-border CO2 infrastructure. 

To date, two CO2 storage projects have been granted PMI status, the 6th PCI list being the first one to officially grant projects the status as PMI since the revised TEN-E Regulation entered into force. The two projects are located in the North Sea area, with Norway being the final storage destination. 

The Connecting Europe Facility 

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Regulation reserved a budget of EUR 5.84 billion for TEN-E projects for the period 2021-2027, focusing on projects with the PCI or PMI designation. The EU has allocated funding that can be provided for various project stages, including feasibility studies and construction; more than 640 million has been awarded for CO2 infrastructure projects between 2022 and 2023 

What to improve 

Through the TEN-E Regulation, the EU is addressing a key issue for the scaling up of EU-wide CDR capacities: the need for sufficient trans-border CO2 networks. When combined with the Net Zero Industry Act’s CO2 storage target of 50 Mt by 2030 and the measures that will follow the Industrial Carbon Management Communication, it is clear that the EU is taking steps to address the need for a significant scale-up in the availability and capacity of CO2 networks in Europe.

Future revisions of the TEN-E Regulation should consider several points. Firstly, the scope of the regulation should be made tech-neutral. Currently, CO2 networks are defined as infrastructure for CO2 “captured from industrial installations for the purpose of geological storage as well as carbon dioxide utilisation for synthetic fuel gases leading to the permanent neutralisation of carbon dioxide”. Depending on the interpretation of this definition, infrastructure moving atmospherically and biogenically-sourced CO2 would not be eligible for the PCI status. This ambiguity should be addressed to make it possible for all types of removed carbon to have free and equal access to CO2 infrastructure. Moreover, the regulation should clearly acknowledge the role of industrial CDR as part of industrial carbon management. Such recognition would be aligned with the target for carbon removal introduced in the 2040 target communication, and with the role foreseen for industrial CDR in the Industrial Carbon Management communication. Finally, the TEN-E Regulation and other EU laws related to CO2 transport and storage, namely the ETS Directive, the Industrial Emissions Directive and the CCS Directive, should be better integrated. Issues such as CO2 transport by other means than pipelines and CO2 quality standards should be harmonised within these laws. 

Timeline

2013
October 2013
January 2014
November 2015
November 2017
October 2019
December 2020
January 2021
November 2021
June 2022
December 2022
November 2023
December 2023
30 April 2024
22 October 2024
2013

Entry into force of the first version of the TEN-E Regulation

October 2013

Adoption of the first PCI list

January 2014

Entry into force of the first version of the CEF Regulation 

November 2015

Adoption of the second PCI list

November 2017

Adoption of the third PCI list

October 2019

Adoption of the fourth PCI list 

December 2020

Adoption by the EU Commission of the proposal for a revision of the TEN-E Regulation

January 2021

Entry into force of the revised CEF Regulation

November 2021

Adoption of the fifth PCI list  

June 2022

Entry into force of the revised TEN-E Regulation 

December 2022

Three CO2 transport and storage projects were awarded a total of EUR 160 million of CEF funding

November 2023

Adoption of the sixth PCI list 

December 2023

Four CO2 transport and storage projects were awarded a total of EUR 480 million of CEF funding 

30 April 2024

Opening of call for proposals under CEF-Energy for PCIs and PMIs

22 October 2024

Closing of of call for proposals under CEF-Energy for PCIs and PMIs

Official Document

Unofficial Title

TEN-E Regulation 

Status

Year

2013