Conclusions I EUSEW 2021 Policy Conference Session: How to achieve Climate Neutrality through Grid Enhancing Technologies

On the 27th of October currENT hosted a session at the EUSEW 2021 Policy Conference where we discussed how to achieve climate neutrality through grid enhancing technologies. Over 130 participants from across Europe joined our discussion on the day.  

The European Union’s Sustainable Energy Week is the most significant event dedicated to renewables and efficient energy use in Europe. This year focused on the theme ‘Towards 2030: Reshaping the European energy system’ and brought together more than 4 500 green energy researchers, entrepreneurs, policymakers, campaigners, and energy enthusiasts. The event held 32 Policy Conference sessions of which currENT’s was one, 40 Energy Talks and 40 Extended Programme sessions lead by over 275 inspiring clean energy experts. Over 3 500 one-on-one exchanges took place through the online networking feature. On top of this, 116 Sustainable Energy Days were held in 20 countries around Europe. 

 

After an introduction by currENT chair Susanne Nies, Professor Tooraj Jamasb introduced the evolution of regulation of this sector, culminating in a crucial point about how to implement GETs in the European electrical networks.   

The panel of industry experts were invited to give their perspectives on: Grid enhancing technologies can enable more renewable energy generation and reduce network congestion –  what needs to happen to see them be used across Europe to accelerate progress towards the energy transition?    

 
The Head of Section Innovation at ENTSO-E, Norela Constantinescu, explained that transmission grids must enable the energy transition and how it cannot be achieved without innovation. ENTSO-E have developed essential tools and publications that aim to increase the use of innovative solutions across European networks; the Technopedia outlines the available innovative solutions, the RDIC (Research, Development and Innovation Committee) outlines pathways towards large-scale adoption of these technologies through the RD&I Roadmap and makes recommendations on financability and regulatory framework that allow the smooth implementation of the innovative solutions.   

Jan Kostevc, Team Leader for Energy Infrastructure at ACER, highlighted the importance of regulatory incentives to encourage the faster adoption of innovative technologies and lead to more cost-efficient investments in grids that are fit for the future.   

What are the relevant regulatory pieces that could contribute to the uptake of grid enhancing technologies and thus the needed uptake of renewables? Wind Europe’s Director of Public Affairs, Ivan Pineda, emphasised that regulation should move away from CAPEX-heavy incentives towards TOTEX-saving investments, so that adoption of GETs will be faster, ultimately enabling more renewables to be connected and contributing towards achieving carbon-neutrality goals. He highlighted the need for further work to improve the CBA (Cost Benefits Analysis) particularly on benefit quantification, to streamline grid planning and application of SGI (Smart Grid Indicator) to track progress on implementation of GETs.   

 

Innovation and a whole system approach are indispensable for power networks that will enable, not delay or even block, progress towards the energy transition. The speakers’ contributions have highlighted this crucial need for more innovation in networks. 

After an engaging Q&A session, Rena Kuwahata, Business Development Manager at Ampacimon and currENT vice-chair, thanked the speakers for their expert insights and summarised the key messages:   

  1. Because of the efficiency first principle, which applies to both investment in and use of networks, technologies that enable optimised utilisation of grid infrastructure must be recognised as an integral part.   
  2. Incentive regulation is vital in propelling the wide and fast adoption of GETs in a way that helps European grid operators achieve the climate neutrality targets.   
  3. Practical examples of incentive regulation are already demonstrated, recommended, and should be adopted and implemented, like the 70% cross-border use requirement and bonus/malus schemes to deal with congestion costs.   
  4. Finally, technology toolboxes like the Technopedia, underpinned by several reference projects and studies and endorsed by the users, should be referenced by NRAs and ACER when putting regulations on efficient grid investments. 

 

Speakers

The EUSEW 2021 session on the ambitious climate targets, grid optimisation and more was discussed by:

SUSANNE NIES
Board Chair of currENT and General Manager Smart Wires for Germany, Austria, Switzerland

IVAN PINEDA
Director Public Affairs at WindEurope

NORELA CONSTANTINESCU
Head of Section Innovation at ENTSO-E, Vice-chair of ETIP SNET

JAN KOSTEVC
Team Leader Energy Infrastructure at the EU Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER)

TOORAJ JAMASB
Professor of Energy Economics and Director for Copenhagen School of Energy Infrastructure (CSEI)

RENA KUWAHATA
Business Development Manager at Ampacimon and currENT vice-chair