The schemes are mainly in central eastern and southern eastern Europe and the Baltics. though there is also a study into an undersea energy link between France and Ireland. The projects were selected via a call for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funding programme for infrastructure.
Of the 20 projects, 11 are in the gas sector and are worth a total of €80m. The remaining nine – worth a total of €70m - are in the electricity sector. Three of the projects are construction schemes with a total value of €120m while the rest of the money will be spent on 17 studies needed before other work can take place.
The projects will increase energy security by contributing to the completion of an EU energy market and increasing the integration of renewable energy on the electricity grid. They will also help end the energy isolation of some EU countries from Europe-wide energy networks.
"The completion of a truly competitive EU-wide energy market is essential in order to turn the Energy Union into a reality. But without reliable and well-connected energy networks this will not happen. This is why we are investing in projects to integrate the market further and to diversify sources and routes, in particular in Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe as well as in the Baltic region," said EU commissioner for climate and energy Miguel Arias Cañete.
The grants will cover seismic surveys for the Chiren underground storage expansion project in Bulgaria, works on an interconnection between Poland and the Czech Republic, and studies into the practice of odorising gas – the different practices vary across EU countries and are a major barrier to connecting gas markets. Other projects include a study into an undersea France-Ireland interconnector, work on a new overhead transmission line in Bulgaria, and an interconnector between Lithuania and other Baltic states.