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EU consumers could save 12-40 billion EUR annually by 2030 if EU had a fully integrated internal electricity market, ITRE MEPs said in a non-legislative resolution voted on Tuesday. While recognising the EU target to raise EU interconnection level for electricity to 10 % by 2020, MEPs criticise that this target was not set "on the basis of scientific evidence". As a remedy, the regions should agree on "ambitious and evidence-based" complementary targets before 2030, MEPs say.

''In a crucial time for the environment, there is a greater need to connect our electricity infrastructure in order to create a common electricity market and lead the way for a system based on renewables'', said rapporteur Peter Eriksson (Greens/EFA,SE). His report was adopted by 56 votes to 3, with 5 abstentions.

Twelve EU countries, mainly in the periphery of the EU, remain below the 10% electricity interconnection target and are thus largely isolated from the internal electricity market, MEPs note in their input. They therefore recognise the 10 % target as a "valuable target and an important step in the right direction".

The 10 % target was decided by EU heads of state and governments in October 2014. The commission presented a communication on the topic in February 2015.

Weak link to scientific evidence

MEPs note that the 10% target does not always reflect the market situation and has not been established on the basis of scientific evidence. In addition, "it describes neither the quantity of electricity flowing between countries nor the quality, such as the availability of the existing interconnection infrastructure or of the existing national infrastructure between the interconnectors". The single interconnection target is not on its own appropriate for all EU countries, MEPs say and ask the regions to agree upon ambitious and evidence-based complementary interconnection targets before 2030.

Holistic approach needed when prioritising where to improve connections

Reasons of frequently congested transmission networks are not only cross-border lines but might also be weak, outdated internal grids and availability of national networks, MEPs say. They therefore insist that a holistic approach should be taken when assessing the need for reinforcement / extension of cross-border and national connections, to make the best possible use of the existing interconnection lines and the capacity of existing national infrastructure.


MEPs note that "the Commission's estimate that EUR 35 billion of financing is necessary to reach the 10% target by 2020 across all Member States", stressing that "the major part of the financial assistance within the Connecting Europe Facility energy envelop should be made available for electricity projects" and that "special attention must be given to projects that address the most significant gaps in the integrated EU electricity market and the lack of sufficient interconnectivity".


Next steps

A plenary vote is planned for the 14-17 December session in Strasbourg.