The European Commission wants to invest around 600 billion euros in modernizing and expanding the European energy supply.
Forty percent of current European distribution networks are older than forty years. It is estimated that around 400 billion euros in investments in electricity networks will be necessary by 2030.
This not only concerns the construction of a network of main pipelines to future wind farms in the North Sea, but also the expansion of domestic networks. Licensing and financing for electricity networks must also become more accessible and faster, if it is up to the Commission.
A list of 166 cross-border projects has been drawn up for investments. They must play an important role in the energy transition. In addition, the European Commission has approved the construction of several dozen transport pipelines and transfer stations for the capture and removal of CO2. For the first time, hydrogen and electrolysis projects (65) are also included.
Especially since the Russian war against Ukraine in spring 2022, the 27 EU countries want to get rid of their dependence on Russian gas, one of the fuels for many of their power stations, as quickly as possible. This has accelerated their previous plans to gradually switch to sustainable solar and wind energy.
Energy consumption in the EU countries is expected to increase by 60 percent by 2030. This increases the demand for 'smart' networks including feed-in and storage options. According to MEP Tom Berendsen (CDA), Brussels is now mainly focusing on connections between places where hydrogen can be produced efficiently and the industry that desperately needs this hydrogen.
CO2 TransPorts will set up infrastructure to facilitate large-scale capture, transport and storage of CO2 from the port areas of Rotterdam, Antwerp and the North Sea. For example, the North Sea Wind Power Hub will soon connect several interconnectors to bordering North Sea countries (Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany), and through the Delta Rhine Corridor, CO2 will soon be transported via pipelines from the German Ruhr area to Dutch offshore storage off the Dutch coast near Rotterdam.
'We want the EU to become self-sufficient in terms of energy. Our electricity must be clean, affordable and fully available. The energy transition will soon come to a standstill because there is simply no room on the grid. For our ambitious plans, we need networks that facilitate the energy transition instead of being a bottleneck. It is good that the European Commission is taking a big step with this plan," said Berendsen.