currENT’s new analysis: New NECPs need to account for innovative grid technologies to achieve Fit for 55

currENT has just released a new paper focusing on helping Member States achieve their NECP goals through Innovative technologies. As energy security increasingly becomes more of a priority and the struggle to reach Net Zero continues, it is now more important than ever to invest in renewables and a robust energy grid that can sustain the increase of new renewables.

As Europe is facing severe challenges concerning energy security, reliability and affordability,
it is more important than ever to take ambitious steps towards Net Zero. Scaling up renewables is
vital here, both in reducing import dependency and fulfilling climate targets, and will require
powerful electricity grids to be planned, optimised, developed and deployed.

The integrated National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) are a central instrument for planning,
coordinating and monitoring progress towards the EU 2030 energy and climate objectives, and
Member States must submit draft updates of their national plan to the European Commission by
June 2023, reflecting the EU’s increased ambitions. currENT believes that it is time for policy
makers to guide the Member States on the most cost-effective way to reach Net Zero in 2050:
innovative grid technologies need to form part of this discussion.

Innovative grid technologies such as Dynamic Line Rating, Power Flow Control devices, grid
monitoring and analytics, and superconducting cables allow the grid to function more efficiently.
Using innovative grid technologies, the existing grid can transport more energy, react faster, and
adapt to new circumstances more quickly while reducing overall investment needs and delivering
vast efficiency gains. Network expansion will be needed, and innovative grid technologies can
complement these efforts.

Our analysis

currENT has reviewed all the NECPs and analysed them concerning their consideration of
Innovative Grid Technologies. Our analysis shows that while smart grids are often mentioned, the
term is used quite broadly, and usually, no details are provided. Some Member States do refer to
storage, PSTs and DLR. Yet, there is much room for improvement, i.e., considering how the
optimisation of existing grids can lead to fast, competitive and sustainable results. The next
generation of NECPs should consider this potential in a deeper, more detailed and concrete
manner. Our recommendations below list several points for the NECP guidance that EC, ACER,
NRAs and governments should take this into account.

  1. Efficient use of infrastructure through the application of the Energy Efficiency First Principle is
    paramount to achieve the EU Green Deal and REPowerEU targets: it needs to be enshrined in the
  2. Innovative Grid Technologies need to be considered part of the technology toolbox.
  3. The NOVA principle should be applied when discussing the electricity grid, and transparency in
    its implementation is key.
  4. Better alignment between NECPs and Network Development Plans is needed.
  5. NECPs should include emerging technologies, their expected impact and how investments can be
    made for their uptake
  6. Working back from 2050 is vital.
  7. NECPs must include non-binding agreements on offshore network development plans for
    renewables, established by Article 14 of the recently revised Trans-European Networks for Energy
  8. The European Commission should commission a study on the benefits of innovative grid
    technologies for reaching climate neutrality.