Finally, a few words will be said on the revision of TEN-E Regulation 347/3013. Concrete infrastructure projects can regarding this Regulation be defined as Projects of European Common Interest. If classified a such a project, companies concerned can come on a list called the PCI list. Norwegian companies have enjoyed such status. By beeing listed here, the project in question will enjoy faster concesssion procedures, simplified regulatory processes and possibly financial support through Connecting Europe facility (CEF). One of the authors of this newsletter was part of the drafting team in the Commission for CEF. The revision of the TEN-E Regulation was impacted by 3 EU strategies: The Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy, the Strategy of Sector Integration and the Hydrogen Strategy. The revision of TEN-E Regulation was launched by the end of 2019 by the Commission. The European Parliament and the Council have discussed this act and reached a political compromise in December 2021. This political compromise is much related to the development of the hydrogen and the offshore wind market.
With regard to offshore grid planning, Member States will plan their offshore grids based on national policies and plans, agreement under this chapter will be voluntary and non-binding. National competent authorities will decide to jointly designate a unique point of contact per project of common interest for project promoters. It also to be pointed out that also radial connections will be able to apply for PCI status and financing, however, only if the project will be designed to transfer electricity from offshore generation sites with capacity of at least 500 MW. Regarding hydrogen, electrolysers with the threshold of 50 MW, provided by a single electrolyser or by a set of electrolysers that form a single, coordinated project cam apply for a PCI status. Electrolyser projects will not be eligible for grant for works.
Looking at the TEN-E Regulation, this has never been part of the EEA Agreement. The Trans-European Infrastructure for transport, energy and telecom was first mentioned in the Maastricht Treaty. TEN-E and Connecting Europe Facility (for energy) were not considered EEA relevant. However, several Norwegian companies have still enjoyed a PCI status. It is also to underline that TEN-T was incorporated into Protocol 31 of the EEA-Agreement.
The Green transition is a great opportunity for Norway and Norwegian undertakings to lean-in. As for TEN-T, the revised TEN-E Regulation could be also incorporated into Protocol 31 of the EEA-Agreement as a climate agreement between Norway and the EU and as such not EEA-relevant. We could use the discretion in CEEAG to give state aid for the projects under the territory of Norway without incorporating the Connecting Europe Facility into the EEA Agreement. If the Norwegian government does not give Norwegian companies this possibility, the project in question could only be seen as a Project of Mutual Interest which probably was set due to Brexit and the failed energy negotiations between the EU and Switzerland. The criteria to fall under this concept was in fact much stricture proposed by the Commission for instance the project in question had to a have a positive benefit for at least to two Member States and not funding was proposed allowed for a third country. In the political compromise the criteria for projects of mutual interest will need to demonstrate that they bring significant benefits either directly or indirectly (via interconnection with a third country) at the Union level. The third country or countries involved will also need to demonstrate legal enforcement mechanisms to support the overall policy objectives of the Union. Limited Union financing for third countries will be possible in accordance with the provisions of the CEF regulation.