Strengthening Europe's energy networks (communication)

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EESC opinion: Strengthening Europe's energy networks (communication)

Key points

In response to the European Commission's communication on "Strengthening Europe's energy networks" (COM(2017)718 final), the European Economic and Social Committee shares the view that a sufficiently interconnected European energy grid is a prerequisite for achieving the aim of the Energy Union: to provide affordable, secure and sustainable energy that makes the energy transition to a low-carbon economy possible in a competitive way; considers that investments in grid infrastructure should be implemented with the same intensity as other energy investments, and in particular in coordination with the expansion of renewables; calls on the Commission and the Member States to draw up two-yearly monitoring reports on the achievement of the renewable development targets and national and transnational network; suggests that actively involving organised civil society in the design phases of the interconnection projects can help to mitigate the lack of public support for some projects; recommends supplementing the country interconnection share indicator with monitoring of interconnection shares per geographical area (such as the Iberian peninsula), and incorporating indicators monitoring price differences between wholesale markets with a view to prioritising implementation of PCIs in the areas where price differences are greater; and calls for a review of the budget available for supporting interconnection projects, since the current allocations might be insufficient to achieve the targets set.