The European Commission, as part of its Digital Agenda, has proposed spending €9.2 billion on broadband projects between 2014-2020. This funding is part of a bigger project – Connect Europe Facility (CEF) which proposes €50 billion on projects associated with transportation, energy and ICT. According to the EU – the funding will “leverage other private and public money, by giving infrastructure projects credibility and lowering their risk profiles” – which is critical to fund investment in more rurals areas. The Digital Agenda for Europe set targets for 2020 of broadband access for all at speeds of at least 30 Mbps, with at least 50% of households subscribing to speeds above 100Mbps.
From a Smart Grid perspective, they European Union has set very aggressive targets as part of its 20/20/20 initiative which sets the following targets:
A reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions of at least 20 percent below 1990 levels
20 percent of EU energy consumption to come from renewable resources –
A 20 percent reduction in primary energy use compared with projected levels, to be achieved by improving energy efficiency
To support this activity they are proposing €9.1 billion on energy infrastructure. While this is only a very small fraction of what is necessary to meet the 20/20/20 targets (estimated at over €1 trillion), it is the very first time that the EU is co-financing the construction of large energy infrastructure from its regular budget.
Projects selected must involve at least 2 member states, with funding available up to 50% of the cost.
Next Steps: The Commission’s proposals will now be submitted to the European Parliament and the EU’s Council of Ministers for adoption.