A look back over Yann Fromont’s time as T&D Europe President

As Yann Fromont comes to the end of his term and welcomes Jochen Kreusel to the position of T&D Europe President, we take this opportunity to look back over Yann’s three years in this role, pinpointing some of the challenges and highlights!

You have been T&D Europe’s President for three years, actively representing and advocating for the T&D sector. Can you give us some insights into your experience in this role? How has the industry evolved during your time?

I could summarise the last three years in three parts, and I can say that it was a pretty challenging experience for me to ensure agility and effectiveness in decision making.

Key events:

  • The publication of the EU Green Deal moving towards a Fit 55 and resulting in a “tsunami of regulation” on climate, energy, data and security.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic that changed the way we work in the industry, the office and how we meet, moving from remote to hybrid.
  • The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, which resulted in an acceleration of EU Strategy. For instance, circularity (re-use, maintain, refurbish etc.) that was part of the strategy, became critical as part of the drive for more European sovereignty. EU dependence on critical raw materials and the Data Act promoting more local services also became key issues. With RePowerEU the EU focused on two priorities: in the short-term, addressing high energy prices, and in the medium-term, securing the EU’s supply chain and proposals to revise electricity market design.

As I handover the Presidency, we are welcoming the Green Deal Industrial Plan and the Net-Zero Industry Act. In short, we are in a lively world, but with a clear strategy.

Can you tell us about some key achievements during your time? What has been your most proud achievement?

I would select three chapters:

  • The recognition by some of our key stakeholders of T&D Europe’s technical expertise. Here I can cite meetings with ENTSO-E and EU-DSO Entity on grid codes and cybersecurity grid code, as well as other workshops tackling HVDC, or meetings with E-DSO and Eurelectric on SF6 Gas equation in 2021 and 2022.In addition to this, the Electricity Directive, where my successor, Jochen Kreusel, has successfully worked for the inclusion of a “Smart Grid Indicator”, demonstrates that T&D Europe can bring proposals that benefit the EU.
  • The recognition of T&D Europe’s vision on the Green Deal, RePowerEU and Green Taxonomy. Here we have been often invited to give our “neutral” vision of the networks (utility and private/industry) of the future. In consequence, we were keynote speakers at numerous events including Enlit Europe, EU Sustainable Energy Week, EV London Show, CIRED and more.
  • The recognition of T&D Europe in the EU Standardisation world. I have been nominated as Chair of the Cen Cenelec Industry Advisory Forum (IAF) to lead strategic topics among sectors, and advise the Cen Cenelec board on key domains, recognising the electrical sector, and T&D Europe, as one able to gather other industries including automotive, space, construction, digital etc.

Other key highlights include the initiative to create the High Level Forum on Standardisation by Commissioner Breton, to ensure a perfect fit between the European Commission and industries. In addition to this, our Power Electricity Alliance (composed of T&D Europe, RTE, E.DSO, Enedis, Europacable, ENTSO-E, FIEEC and Gimelec) has been selected among 23 industrial bodies to represent the electrical system in front of the European Commission. This is a real achievement, and I am proud to be part of the journey.

What do you see as the biggest challenge for the sector going forward? What can T&D Europe do to tackle this?

As said, now the vision remains the “Green Deal”, but the timeline is not predictable as geopolitics change and can interfere with original plans. T&D Europe is a very technical but very agile association that is able to focus on key areas on the spot when required. This will remain our DNA and be our strength.

What would you hope to see T&D Europe/the sector achieve in the next 5 years?

The electricity sector is not well recognised yet at European level. In a Europe that wants to be more electrified, we cannot stay at the current level of manufacturing and need more PV panels, more windfarms and heat pumps. The EU needs to understand that the “electrical green system” is a backbone of the energy transition and it is essential to take care of it.

That’s why my goal in the comings months and years is to demonstrate at EU level that the electricity sector should be recognised at the right level, as a whole, as the European Commission has done with the hydrogen topic, and not only per “electrical apparatus type!”.

And I believe that with the current Net-Zero Industrial Plan and Green Deal, we have a real window of opportunity to create a European Electrical Coalition that can be an impactful and interactive alliance with EU policymakers.