Power groups in EU budget plea over North Sea grid fund

Cuts feared to €9.1bn grid infrastructure funding

Three leading trade bodies for the European electricity industry have written a letter urging the European Union (EU) to avoid cutting a €9.1bn funding package that would support an offshore grid in the North Sea.

European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) chief executive Christian Kjaer, along with the heads of European electricity association Eurelectric and Europacable, the trade body for electrical cabling firms, signed a letter urging EU member states and the European Parliament to stick by funding commitments made within its €50bn Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).

The letter comes ahead of a summit of EU leaders in Cyprus in November to negotiate the Union's budget for 2014-20.

An EWEA spokesman told Windpower Offshore that, while not presenting specific threats to the €9.1bn allocation to grid infrastructure, the CEF programme was only announced last year and is therefore new and susceptible to cuts.

"There has to be a concern about every budget line in the future EU budget, and especially any new budget line has to be at risk if governments are looking to cut the EU budget," he added.

The CEF is a €50bn plan put forward by the European Commission (EC) in October 2011 to improve Europe's transport, energy and digital networks. It includes a proposal to spend €9.1bn to upgrade electricity transmission networks across the continent, and in particular grid infrastructure to support the development of offshore wind in the North Sea.

An EC report published earlier this year identified the following projects as potential beneficiaries of the CEF energy fund:

    New interconnection between Denmark and the Netherlands

    New sub-sea interconnector between France and the UK

    New sub-sea interconnector between the UK and Belgium

    Sub-sea interconnector and hub between Germany/UK and Norway

    AC land link between Northern and Southern Ireland


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