European Projects of Common Interest and the 2018 Ten Year Network Development Plan for the European electricity network

United Kingdom
Any electricity transmission or storage developer seeking to have a project classified (or to ensure a project retains its status) as a European Project of Common Interest must first ensure that the project is included within the Ten Year Network Development Plan (“TYNDP”) published biennially by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (“ENTSO-E”). This TYNDP builds on national development plans to set out the transmission and storage projects required for a stable and decarbonised pan-European electricity network. 

On Monday, ENTSO-E took the first two steps towards its 2018 TYNDP:

1. Publication of draft Scenario Report

This report sets out hypothetical future scenarios for the European energy market to inform TYNDP assessments. ENTSO-E has for the first time joined forces with its gas counterpart (ENTSO-G) in publishing this report. Stakeholders have been given until 10 November 2017 to respond with feedback.

The scenarios present alternative paths by which the European energy market might develop in accordance with EU greenhouse gas emissions targets. The drivers envisaged for emissions reduction include a switch from coal and oil to gas across sectors including energy and transport, a prosumer-led flourishing in decentralised generation and storage and, in the most ambitious scenario, even stronger global political commitments on decarbonisation and renewable energy growth.

Interestingly, the final scenario was viewed as the most likely by industry stakeholders but the least likely by representatives from government and national regulatory authorities.

2. Call for proposals – opening of application window

ENTSO-E has announced the opening of the application window for projects to be included in its 2018 TYNDP. Project promoters have until 30 November 2017 to submit their applications.

ENTSO-E has released guidance notes on:
  • the use of its online submission tool; and
  • the technical and administrative requirements for projects to be considered for inclusion in the TYNDP.

The second guidance document referred to above builds on the draft European Commission guidelines which were used for the application process for TYNDP 2016. The format showing the administrative criteria that applicants must meet has been simplified, now split into just two main categories (transmission projects and storage projects), amalgamating the relevant subcategories – but the content remains largely the same as that under the previous European Commission guidelines. There are, however, a few material differences in the technical criteria which projects must meet – for example, the minimum voltages for (i) cross-border overhead lines (220kV), and (ii) underground/submarine cables (150kV) have been reduced to a minimum voltage of 110kV in each case. Some of the most significant changes are in the sections of the guidance on confidentiality and updating of technical data, access to assessment results and the right to a review of ENTSO-E’s decision – for example, the new guidance specifies that all technical data used in ENTSO-E’s cost-benefit analysis of the project will be treated as public rather than confidential information.

Mid-term adequacy forecast

On the same day as taking the above steps towards the 2018 TYNDP, ENTSO-E also released its annual mid-term adequacy forecast. The report estimates the future ability of power systems across Europe to balance supply and demand, identifying the areas at greatest risk. While not connected with the TYNDP process, the report may help promoters to demonstrate the importance of certain transmission and storage projects, especially in those increased risk areas.

Next steps

Applicants will be informed by February 2018 whether their projects are eligible for consideration for the 2018 TYNDP. ENTSO-E will then run a cost-benefit analysis of the eligible projects before producing a draft TYNDP by September 2018. A public consultation will be held, and the TYNDP finalised, by the end of 2018. Project promoters will then be able to apply to the European Commission for classification of their projects as Projects of Common Interest.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to speak to anyone in our team about the TYNDP and how we can help your business.