European institutions

Stakeholder role in grid projects: 

Power grids do not only connect different regions within a country. In fact, many high voltage grids in Europe cross borders and seas to connect national grid systems and guarantee a reliable supply of electricity across the entire continent. Therefore, the development of grids in Europe is not an exclusively national endeavour. Grid development plans are elaborated and coordinated on a European level through close cooperation of the national TSOs and national Regulators of neighbouring countries and through the cooperation with European institutions.

Various grid development projects are directly related to enhancing the trans-border energy network, aiming to implement a reliable grid connection between all countries in Europe (European market integration) and to achieve the goals of the European Energy Strategy. Various European institutions are involved in the coordination and planning of grid development or influence the process through policy making and implementation. 

European institutions work on European network issues, energy regulation and policy issues in concert with relevant institutions and policy-makers in the Member States. Important Institutions are, for instance, the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission (DG Energy), the European Network of Transmission system operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) and the European Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER).

Primary concern with grid projects: 
Usual patterns: 

The European Parliament, the Commission and the Council are legislative and policy-making bodies working towards common European energy policy and a common European market for electricity. 

ENTSO-E is the European Network of Transmission system operators for Electricity resents all electric TSOs in the EU and others connected to their networks, for all regions, and for all their technical and market issues. Important Europe-wide planning and operations roles are assigned to ENTSO-E in new European legislation. 

ACER, the European Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators coordinates the work of national Regulators, has stakes in creating European network rules, gives energy related advice to other European institutions and monitors and reports developments regarding the European energy markets.

Further project-specific questions: 
  • Is a grid development project, which you are concerned with, a cross-border project? What is the benefit of the countries involved? 

  • Can relevant European institutions provide information that can be used for the stakeholder dialogue?

Topography within stakeholder group: 
Usual patterns: 

The European Commission comprises several Directorates-General (DGs or the services), for instance DG Energy, which is charged with energy policy issues such as creating a competitive internal energy market to lower prices, to develop renewable energy sources, to reduce energy dependence and to reduce energy consumption. DG Energy is concerned with elaborating and enforcing the European Energy Strategy. As a part of this responsibility, the Commission publishes a list of urgent energy infrastructure projects referred to as Projects of Common Interest (PCI). These projects are defined as having significant benefits for at least two Member States. Some of these projects are of a regional importance (e.g. Baltic Sea region) while there are others that have to be implemented jointly in several countries. Their implementation is regarded as an important intermediate step towards completing the EU internal energy market. Many grid development projects in the European Member States are such projects of common interest and have the special support of the European Union. A list of all projects of common interests can be found online. 

Following Regulations of the European Parliament and the Council, ENTSO-E deals with security of energy supply in Europe and market integration. Moreover, they assist their members in developing and enhancing frameworks for the promotion of public acceptability of power grids and they give advice for the coordination of relevant stakeholders. ENTSO-E prepares an EU-wide ten-year network development plan (TYNDP) every two years. This plan is non-binding and is based on national grid development plans. The TYNDP's objective is to identify cross-border grid investment gaps and to guarantee transparency regarding the European transmission network and its development.

ACER’s main role in terms of grid development projects is to promote efficient energy infrastructure, which shall guarantee the free movement of energy across borders and the transportation of renewable energy. Furthermore, ACER coordinates regional and cross-regional initiatives which favour market integration and monitors the work of European TSOs and notably their EU-wide network development plans.

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Individuals within stakeholder organisations/entities: 
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Project stage for engagement: 
Usual patterns: 

One of the most important specific contributions of European institutions towards grid development projects is their stake in preparing the Ten Year Network Development Plan (TYNDP), a process steered by ENTSO-E. This plan constitutes the European element of each project’s first stage, the determination of its need: All projects presented in this plan have been identified as necessary to ensure that the European grid infrastructure furthers the main goals of European energy policy. Therefore, a project presented in this plan has been determined to be necessary at the overall European level.

Because of its importance as a tool for coordinating grid development across Europe, the process behind the development of the TYNDP is complex and thorough. The plan is drafted mainly based on three information pillars: The first pillar is the input of the national TSOs in the form of their national development plans. Additionally, the ENTSO-E Regional groups assess the development projects of their region against several “Visions”. These visions are the second pillar of the drafting process as they each describe different possible scenarios of future grid system developments, which are simulated and calculated by ENTSO-E based on pan-European and regional market data. The third pillar of the final TYNDP is the input of different kinds of stakeholders which are concerned by the power grid and/or by its enlargement or improvement. This is done through public stakeholder workshops at key process milestones. Information on how to get involved in these biannual processes can be found online on ENTSO-E’s website.

Each project that is suggested as part of the TYNDP has also passed ENTSO-E’s cost benefit analysis methodology, which calculates the investment costs and benefits derived from each project, under each of the different scenarios, at a future point in time. The results of these assessments are made available online and are publicly accessible.

Further project-specific questions: 
  • Does a certain project have a strong European dimension? 

  • What is the outcome of the cost benefit analysis of the specific project I am concerned with? What benefits for the region and for the European energy system are to be expected under certain scenarios?

General concerns: 
Usual patterns: 

As European institutions are mainly concerned with the coordination and common alignment of policies, they are not actively involved in the implementation of a certain grid development project. 

Furthermore, not every grid development project in Europe has an obvious European dimension. Especially once national TSOs start to implement the projects that have been prescribed in network development plans, the role of European institutions in a project becomes smaller. However, there may be certain circumstances where European institutions may get involved in an active promotion of a development project – if desired by the national TSO and feasible for the respective institution. An involvement of European institutions may be beneficial, for example, where adjacent citizens and/or other stakeholders, who are involved in a project, have a particular interest in the European dimension of a project (e.g. a cross-border project between two Member States). In such a case, European institutions could provide information on the European dimension of a project and give reasons for its need – if possible "European" reasons/European drivers. 

Project-specific questions: 
  • Does a certain project have a strong European dimension? 
  • Is there a particular interest in the European dimension of a project among the stakeholders concerned? 
  • If so, how could European institutions provide valuable input to the project, i.e. in particular to project communication? 
  • If the project has a strong European dimension, how could cross-border communication and cooperation be improved? Could European institutions be involved for this purpose?
Adequate communication channels for participation/cooperation: 
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Adequate communication formats for participation/cooperation: 
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