ACER calls for improvements to the European Commission’s current TEN-E Regulation legislative proposals to ensure the best projects for the Green Deal and European consumers

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Calling for neutral and independent technical assessment of infrastructure projects and improved regulatory oversight

​ACER and CEER have published a position paper on improving the Regulation on Guid​elines for Trans-European Energy Networks (TEN-E Regulation) setting out how Europe's co-legislators can further improve the Commission's legislative proposals.

The ACER-CEER position paper (March 2021) calls for neutral and independent technical assessment of infrastructure projects and improved regulatory oversight so that the projects bringing most benefits for the European Green Deal are supported and to avoid any risks of unjustified costs to European consumers.

Tackling the infrastructure needs in an increasingly integrated European energy system is complex and requires proper regulatory scrutiny to safeguard the public interest. ACER and national regulators have a long experience in terms of network development for electricity and gas as well as with the implementation of the TEN-E Regulation.

In essence, ACER and the regulators focus on 2 main issues:

  • the quality of the tools to assess infrastructure needs and projects' value according to European energy policy objectives, and

  • the role of regulators and the Agency in the governance of the European Projects of Common Interest (PCI) process, ensuring they can effectively oversee TSOs' tasks and decide on projects implementation.

By way of background, already In July 2020, regulators set out their recommendation to the European Commission (as it began developing its proposals on revising the Trans-European Energy Networks Regulation) in the ACER​-CEER position paper on revision of the TEN-E Regulation and Infrastructure Governance​. When the European Commission's revised TEN-E Regulation proposals were published in December 2020, ACER and CEER flagged up the need for further improvement for energy network development (see the ACER-CEER Press Release​).

With the exception of the introduction of ACER framework guidelines for scenarios development, ACER's role (in the Commission's proposals) is weakened due to the lack of regulatory scrutiny of offshore network development plans and due to the proposal to limit ACER's and NRAs' ability to assess investment requests. In other areas in need of better regulatory oversight, no structural improvements are included.​

The ACER-CEER position paper (March 2021) sets out and makes recommendations on 9 main issues:

  1. Assessment of projects through CBAs – facilitating infrastructure

  2. Assessment of projects in different futures – scenario development

  3. Offshore grid planning should be fully integrated in the European grid planning

  4. Cross border investment decisions should be exclusively a competence of the national regulatory authority (NRA) and, where relevant, ACER

  5. Specific provisions on risk-related incentives are not necessary

  6. Simplification of Regional Groups

  7. Projects of mutual interest

  8. Implications of amended gas project categories

  9. Implications of the abolition of natural gas projects.