Reuters says it has looked at draft legislation that calls for the EU to have special powers to fast track “energy projects of strategic significance to ensure security of supply and competitive prices and to meet Europe’s goals to reduce carbon emissions.  The draft proposes creating a “European coordinator” to help accelerate projects of EU-wide importance if they encounter “significant delays or implementation difficulties.”

Europes’s most pressing issue is reducing its dependency on Russian natural gas supplies.  The way forward to address this goal is to obtain gas from countries surrounding the Caspian Sea (such as Turkmenistan) where there are vast resources.  Russia would like to move this gas through pipelines that cross its territories whereas Europe is looking at a more southern route that avoids Russia.

Priority projects include the area known as the Southern Gas Corridor for helping to reduce EU dependency on Russian natural gas supplies…Europe’s most prominent solution to reducing its vulnerability to any interruption of Russian supplies is the proposed Nabucco pipeline to carry gas from the Caspian.

British auditor Gaffney, Cline & Associates (GCA) said on Tuesday that Turkmenistan’s South Iolotan gas field was the world’s second-largest, estimated to hold up to 21.2 trillion cubic metres (tcm) of natural gas.

Such reserves could be crucial to the development of the Nabucco pipeline, which does not yet have enough gas suppliers to fill its targeted capacity.

Here is a map of possible routes for the Nabucco pipeline. It would connect the world’s richest gas regions – the Caspian region, Iraq and Egypt – to the European consumer markets.  It would be a rival to Russia’s South Stream pipeline. If built, Nubucco is expected to be operational by 2017 and it will carry 31 billion cubic metres (1.1 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas per year.

 

 

Another priority for Europe is an integrated offshore electricity grid in the North Sea and in the Baltic region.

To overcome lengthy national and domestic disputes over how these “significant” energy projects should proceed, the EU would take the decision-making way from them and make the decision in the best interests of Europe as a whole by choosing the “least harmful route”.

If projects are important enough, public objections can be overridden on certain conditions and “the least harmful route of that project shall be granted the necessary positive decisions”, according to the draft being circulated in EU departments.

The draft legislation is expected to be made public in the coming weeks, after which it could take a year to be finalised by EU governments and lawmakers.

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2 Comments on EU Seeks Powers to Speed Up Pipelines and Power Grids

  1. […] Europe. Second, Europe is looking to diversity its gas supplies to increase its energy security. As we wrote earlier, one way to do this would be to build a southern pipeline to bring gas from the Caspian Sea region […]

  2. Elroy Jetson says:

    “Public objections can be overridden” is a Pandora’s box. The privileged will be protected, while the ordinary citizen may find his quality of life sacrificed on the alter of bureaucratic decision-making. This is exactly the experience of the rural Canadian living in Ontario under the Green Energy Act which denies the rural citizen a democratic voice in ‘green energy’ projects; apparently they alone bear the ‘price to be paid’ for the purported ‘public good’. And what recourse will angry Europeans have to an adverse decision by Euro-crats — their own government will presumably be powerless to reverse such decisions? So much for democracy.