European Commission Outlines Collaborative Investment Frameworks for Offshore Energy Projects

(Image credit: European Commission)

A guidance document (C/2024/3998) outlining ways in which investment frameworks for cross-border offshore grid and renewable projects can be organized most efficiently has been published by the European Commission. It will support EU countries, national regulatory authorities and system operators in their discussions on cost-sharing agreements for achieving EU countries’ regional offshore renewable targets. The guidelines are foreseen under the TEN-E Regulation and also follow on from the EU Action Plan for Grids last November, in which the Commission stressed the importance of collaborative investment frameworks to realize the EU’s political ambitions on offshore renewables, signaling the need for guidance to support the process.

Unveiling this Guidance at the 10th edition of the Energy Infrastructure Forum in Copenhagen, Commissioner Kadri Simson, said: “Europe needs offshore renewables and grids. They will lower our dependence on foreign gas, increase our security of supply thanks to hybrid interconnectors, support our economic competitiveness and be a pillar of the energy transition. Making this happen requires developing collaborative investment frameworks between Member States, ensuring an equitable distribution of costs.”

Taking into consideration the offshore network development needs, the document recommends that EU countries and regulatory authorities discuss principles for collaboration—including on costs—already at the stage of identifying the network needs in order to accelerate the emergence of new cross-border projects. They also call on ENTSO-E to further develop effective modeling tools to better account for EU countries’ needs for information relevant to kickstarting such exchanges.

The Commission Guidance offers certain parameters to ensure that cost-benefit analyses, cost-sharing, and allocation activities are based on fair principles and sound technical calculations. This should be done first at the level of the sea basin, recalling that ENTSO-E will now work on the application of the Guidance for their Offshore Network Development Plans—for publication in one year’s time. Then, it is up to EU countries and National Regulatory Authorities, supported by TSOs, to make decisions on final cost allocations at the project level in order to secure the necessary investment.

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