EU Sustainable Energy Week: smart grids indicators for increasing system efficiency

On 26 October, T&D Europe Deputy President Jochen Kreusel took part in a co-organised event on system efficiency, in the context of the 2021 Sustainable Energy Week.

The co-organisers were SmartEn (Smart Energy Europe), the NGO RAP (the Regulatory Assistance Project) and the Coalition for Energy Savings, whose representatives participated in the panel. In the second part of the session, two institutional speakers joined the panelists. These were Mathieu Fransen, the team leader of the ACER department on Market Codes Electricity, and Claudia Gamon, member of the Renew Europe Group at the European Parliament. Laure Dulière was the moderator of the event.

The first part of the panel was centred on the different associations’ perspectives on how to achieve system efficiency and reap all the benefits of a flexible consumption both for the system and the end users, while supporting the decarbonisation of the EU economy.

Michael Villa (Executive Director of SmartEn) stated that unleashing demand-side flexibility of all end-user sectors will effectively enable to achieve a much more efficient system. The challenges presented by the increased volatility caused by the increased dependency on variable and weather dependent renewable generation can be transformed into business opportunities if end-users would be able to flexibly control their consumption and storage capacity. Jochen Kreusel defended the point that smart grid indicators are the tool to achieve system efficiency. The indicators, already present in the European Commission’s Energy Efficiency Directive proposal, can be used to account for system efficiency and also the readiness of infrastructure. This will give further visibility on the system and its abilities. For Zsuzanna Pató (Senior Advisor at RAP, the Regulatory Assistance Project), consumers are a key resource to keep the cost of the energy transition down, and there are multiple regulatory tools that can unlock the consumers’ potential in the power sector. Finally, Arianna Vitali (Secretary General of the Coalition for Energy Savings) highlighted that the Energy Efficiency First Principle is one of the main drivers for system efficiency. The principle has the potential to change perspectives in planning infrastructure, which is needed in doing energy policy.

The second panel dealt with policymakers’ take on system efficiency. Claudia Gamon (MEP– Renew Europe Group) pointed that the Fit for 55 package of proposals include valuable measures to modernise the energy sector. The energy system integration and prosumers are mentioned often, for example in the TEN-E revision, but to have them included in infrastructure and in the framework is entirely different. In heating and cooling, and in electric charging vehicles, the regulatory structure should also be stronger. Ms. Gamon added that concerning the increase in the price of raw materials, moving towards renewables will not only make us more resilient, but it will also make us to stay true to our European values in the context of the international power dynamics. For Mathieu Fransen (Team leader Market Codes Electricity Department ACER), legislation has a key active role in system efficiency, and things are moving forward to improve the European framework. On the price of raw materials, he noted that there is a distinction to be made between price increase and price volatility.

The video stream of the event can be seen on the EUSEW 2021 website or on YouTube.