- No more financial support for natural gas projects
- Funds should support hydrogen, carbon capture and storage
- Projects costs should not increase energy bills for consumers
The updated rules to select which energy projects should be supported aim to make cross-border energy infrastructure sustainable and in line with the EU Green Deal.
The Industry, Research and Energy Committee approved on Tuesday, by 50 votes to 13 and 12 abstentions, its position on the criteria and methodology for selecting energy projects of common interest (PCIs), such as high-voltage transmission lines, pipelines, energy storage facilities or smart grids, which would benefit from fast-track administrative procedures and be eligible to receive EU funds.
Natural gas phase-out
MEPs supported funding the development of hydrogen infrastructure, such as electrolysers, as well as carbon capture and storage. They also insist on the need to support public participation in the selection process. Eligible projects should also drive market integration and increase security of supply.
Projects based on natural gas will no longer be eligible for EU funding. However, a temporary derogation will allow, under strict conditions, natural gas projects from the fourth or fifth list of PCIs to be eligible for a fast-track authorisation procedure.
The selected projects should help member states to move away from solid fossil fuels such as coal, lignite, peat and oil shale, say MEPs. They also propose to fund projects that repurpose existing natural gas infrastructure for hydrogen transport or storage.
Consumers should not be penalised
MEPs reiterate that eligible projects have to be in line with the “energy efficiency first” principle, which stipulates that energy savings are the easiest way to save money for consumers and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The cost of projects should ensure that end-users are not disproportionately burdened, especially if that could lead to energy poverty.
Finally, the legislation should not affect a country’s right to determine how to use its energy resources and define its own energy mix.