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Response on TEN-E Revision

March 2021

currENT has submitted a response on European Commission’s proposal for a regulation on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure (TEN-E).

The TEN-E framework is significant as it is the most important EU instrument to ensure that the best possible clean energy infrastructure, with cross-border impact, will be available in a timely manner.

currENT welcomes the publication of the revised TEN-E Regulation and agrees that the central objective of the revision must be to bring the TEN-E guidelines in line with the new, ambitious decarbonisation agenda. However, we believe that the following improvements to the European Commission’s proposal are needed to ensure that the necessary infrastructure investments are delivered in time:

1. Closer monitoring of Energy Efficiency First and Do No Significant Harm principles

The achievement of the new climate targets will require a commitment to the NOVA principle and thus the imperative use of innovative technologies for the optimisation of existing grids and improving future new grids.

currENT strongly supports the proposal’s ambition to apply selection criteria that reward efficiency and flexibility in line with the Energy Efficiency First and Do No Significant Harm principles. However, we would like to highlight the need for the implementation of the EEF principle to be closely monitored and regularly reported on by the relevant authorities, including ACER.


2. Innovation in grid infrastructure is a no regrets option that will boost Europe’s competitiveness

The new European framework for infrastructure planning must recognise the contribution of innovative technologies, and should fairly reflect the value of these solutions in the project selection processes. The benefits of rapidly deployable solutions that act as enablers of larger infrastructure projects and crucially lead to the quicker release of capacity on the existing network must also be recognised.  

“currENT suggests that this is done by introducing an obligation on network companies to transparently share their innovation experiences, learnings and best practices with the wider energy community. This could be done through a fit for purpose Smart Grid Indicator. Furthermore, it should be recognised that the private sector and other industry players are at the forefront of developing innovative solutions thus, should be more involved in the innovation process.”

3. Offshore infrastructure requires a change in governance structure

Another key area for improvement identified by currENT is the governance structure for offshore infrastructure. currENT proposes that the offshore infrastructure planning should move away from the project by-project approach towards a more ambitious comprehensive approach that is coordinated by a central European entity and incentivises greater use of innovative transmission technologies. 

“This would ensure that the “integrated offshore network development plans” include sections on grid innovation and grid technology needed to reach the 2030, 2040 and 2050 ambitions established for the European Sea Basins.”

During the public consultation preceding the European Commission’s proposal (July 2020), currENT provided its initial recommendations for the revision of the TEN-E regulation to the Commission. currENT’s main recommendations to the consultation were:

  • Recognise the value of flexible solutions in the project selection processes, as these can be delivered quickly;
  • Start with the low-hanging fruits, optimise existing grids first and establish new infrastructure in accordance with a coordinated decarbonisation plan, using available technologies built-in;
  • Accelerate the uptake of innovative solutions for PCI projects, while facilitating and encouraging the participation of SME’s and the private sector;
  • TEN-E must reflect a 2050 pathway and plan, support the technologies needed and encourage the necessary grid innovation that will be needed to deliver a cost-effective European electricity infrastructure;
  • Align the TEN-E regulation with European long-term policy objectives and ensure that these are prioritised;
  • Increase transparency in network development with a focus on early stages of project selection and evaluation;
  • Strengthen the roles of ACER and the Commission and enhance the effectiveness of consultation processes.


The European Commission’s proposal is now being negotiated by the European Parliament and the Council.

You can read the full submission here.