Europe's energy future holds manifold challenges, including the task of identifying gaps that are likely to arise in terms of meeting all energy demand. To be better prepared to face these challenges, the European Union has stepped up its efforts in this area. The network development planning process was fully revised as part of the third energy package of 2009, and then adjusted again with the energy infrastructure package of 2013.
Accelerating the refurbishment of existing energy infrastructure and the deployment of (necessary) new energy infrastructure is vital to achieve the EU’s energy and climate policy objectives, including the completion of the internal market in energy and security of supply.
Regulations 2009/73/EC for gas and 2009/72/EC for electricity were the first to introduce mandatory ten-year network development plans for transmission system operators across Europe. These national plans must in particular
- (a) indicate to market participants the main infrastructure that needs to be built or extended over the next ten years;
- (b) contain all the investments already decided and identify new investments which have to be executed in the next ten years; and
- (c) provide for a time frame for all investment projects.
E-Control is tasked with approving the network development plans submitted by the Austrian transmission system operators.
To increase the transparency of network development at European level, Regulation 715/2009 foresees that the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG) establish a non-binding Union-wide ten-year network development plan (TYNDP), and that ENTSO-E do the same for electricity. Viable networks and necessary regional interconnections, relevant from a commercial or security of supply point of view, should be included in these network development plans.
In addition, cross-border regional investment plans are established and published in between the Union-wide TYNDPs. System operators can then take investment decisions based on such regional investment plans.
For further information, please visit the ENTSOs’ websites:
The instruments introduced by the third energy package were still insufficient to reach the ambitious goals the EU has set for itself; to make this possible, 2013 saw the enactment of the energy infrastructure package. In this package, Union-wide integrated networks and deployment of smart grids are vital for ensuring a competitive and properly functioning integrated market, for achieving an optimal utilisation of energy infrastructure, for increased energy efficiency and integration of distributed renewable energy sources and for promoting growth, employment and sustainable development.