News | 15 July 2020

Trans-European Networks for Energy: Envisaged new regulation must make the EU energy system fit for climate neutrality

Germanwatch urges EU Commission to make energy efficiency and 100 % renewable energies the cornerstones of energy system planning and demands temporary moratorium on gas infrastructure.

The EU energy system is still far from being climate neutral or based on 100 % renewable energies. The currently discussed revision of the guidelines for the Trans-European Networks for Energy (TEN-E), which provide the basis for the selection of the so-called Projects of Common Interests (PCIs), has the potential to set a new course.

The challenge with the TEN-E is that they still stem from the period before the Paris Agreement (2015) and hence are rather oriented at a strong security of supply than a smart one, which would also address effective climate protection, sector integration and system flexibilisation. This has resulted in an inappropriately high selection of fossil gas projects in the PCI processes over the past years.

The revision of the TEN-E regulation is scheduled for the end of the year. Until 13 July 2020, citizens and experts were able to participate in a public consultation process on the TEN-E reform, in which Germanwatch also took part.

In order to stress the importance of a climate-proof revision of the TEN-E, Germanwatch and the environmental NGOs BUND, DNR, DUH, Nabu, WWF as well as the think tank E3G have directly addressed the EU Commission and the German government in a joint letter. The alliance demands that “energy efficiency first” becomes the overarching principle of infrastructure planning while the aim of reaching a 100 % nature-compatible, renewable energy system must be enshrined. Furthermore, a temporary moratorium for new gas infrastructure needs to be put in place until future needs for renewable gas transport are clear. This is crucial to make sure that no more public money is spent on infrastructure that is not future-proof.

Now it is the part of the EU Commission and the German Presidency of the Council to align the TEN-E regulation with the ambitions set by the European Green Deal and thereby empower infrastructure for a smart, integrated, and renewable energy system.