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European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency
News article22 March 2024European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency2 min read

CEF Energy: supporting smart technologies for a stronger grid

10 years of CEF - SINCRO.GRID

In the pursuit of a sustainable and integrated European energy network, the EU has continuously emphasised the importance of modernising and interconnecting energy infrastructure across Member States. The instrument to support that upgrade is the Connecting Europe Facility for Energy (CEF Energy), the EU funding programme that for the last ten years has invested in key cross-border projects, including smart grid projects such as SINCRO.GRID.


SINCRO.GRID, is a collaborative effort between Slovenia and Croatia to solve network voltage, frequency control and congestion issues. The project, promoted by the partners ELES, SODO, HOPS and HEP ODS, received the status of Project of Common Interest (PCI) and kicked off in 2016 aiming to address the challenges posed by the increasing integration of renewable energy sources into the grid. Commissioned in 2021, SINCO.GRID has since then increased the security and efficiency of operations of the Slovenian and Croatian electricity systems simultaneously.

CEF Energy co-funding

The success of such an ambitious project also lied on adequate funding coming from CEF Energy. The project was supported by the EU programme with over EUR 40 million invested to develop and implement advanced smart grid technologies to solve the issues and challenges mentioned above.

CEF funding was also crucial for the development of smart technologies and systems for grid optimisation via the installation of advanced monitoring devices and grid automation systems across the two countries. In fact, SINCO.GRID became the first European project to introduce digitalisation in energy infrastructure by implementing a virtual cross-border control centre (VCBCC) to share real time data for a more efficient operation of the transmission systems of both countries. They were also pioneers in integrating other digital solutions such as the dynamic thermal rating (DTR) into the electricity grid infrastructure.

In addition, the grant required close cooperation and coordination among participating countries and therefore facilitated cross-border collaboration, fostering knowledge exchange and best practice sharing. This concluded in accelerating the pace of progress and in maximising the project's impact.

The project impact and benefits

SINCRO.GRID stands out as a flagship in the realm of smart electricity transmission projects  and has played a pivotal role in enhancing the resilience, reliability, and sustainability of the energy grid in Croatia and Slovenia.

Through the deployment of cutting-edge technology, the project lead to improve the voltage profiles on the network, leading to increased security of supply in Slovenia and Croatia.

Moreover, the effect of its operations can also a positive impact in the networks of neighbouring countries. The innovative technical solutions can be replicated and adapted to those countries to achieve similar results.


By providing crucial financial support, technical expertise and institutional guidance, CEF Energy has catalysed the development of critical energy infrastructure, driving progress towards a more secure, sustainable, and integrated European energy market. The SINCRO.GRID project continues to evolve and expand, and its success underscores the importance of strategic investment in cross-border energy projects. As the EU continues implementing its clean energy transition, projects like SINCRO.GRID will remain instrumental in shaping the evolution of Europe's energy infrastructure while accelerating the adoption of smart grid technologies and innovation.

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