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New approach for European electricity interconnections targets

The European Commission's Expert Group on electricity interconnection targets presented its final report to European Commissioner for Climate Miguel Arias Cañete on 9 November 2017. T&D Europe welcomes a pragmatic approach that is reflecting technology stakeholders views.

 

 

Established by the Commission in March 2016, the Expert Group on electricity interconnections targets is composed of electricity transmission networks specialists including T&D Europe expert Jochen Kreusel. Its mission is to advise the European Commission on the next steps following the setting of an interconnections target of 10% by 2020. This means that EU Member States electricity infrastructure need to allow at least 10% of the electricity produced by their power plants to be transported across their borders to neighbouring countries.

Taking into account the new energy system reality in which renewable energy generation plays an increasing role, the Expert Group recommends a new approach maximising societal welfare.

Moving beyond numbered targets, experts insist on five essential points:

1. The functioning of electricity market needs to be improved. Among others, existing interconnectors should be used more efficiently.

2. New interconnectors must fulfil three objectives:

· minimising price differential between relevant countries, regions or bidding zone with an indicative threshold of €2/MWh;

· ensuring power demand can be met at all times and

· enabling the renewable energy export potential. The experts developed interconnectors nominal transmission capacity indicators to identify regions that need urgent infrastructure upgrade.

3. Each new interconnector must be subject to a socio-economic and environmental cost-benefit analysis.

4. Citizens involvement should be facilitated in all relevant infrastructure projects.

5. The methodological approach should be reviewed minimum every five years to take into account technological developments.

T&D Europe members are welcoming the Expert Group report and believe it represents a thorough analysis of the increasingly complex environment of the grid infrastructure. It proposes a methodology for monitoring existing and required interconnection capacity, which on side reflects the complexity and considers all relevant input parameters and on the other side is still simple and robust enough to be applicable. Moreover, it does not only reflect the technical need for interconnection capacity, but also its economic value and the acceptance by those being affected by new infrastructures.

Considering the report’s results, Expert Group member and T&D Europe Vice-President Jochen Kreusel declared: “We see a particular strength in both the report and the composition of the Expert Group. The fact that innovative technologies are explicitly highlighted as a solution to manage the complexity of the energy transition reflects that the views of technology experts have been represented in the Expert Group alongside those of other actors of the European energy system.”

T&D Europe calls grid operators and regulators for the timely implementation of the relevant interconnector projects, and asks local politicians to work on public acceptance of new power lines. Beyond reinforcing the network, new innovative projects contribute also in maintaining employment and safeguarding the world’s leading technical competencies within the European power transmission and distribution manufacturing industry.

On 22 November 2017, energy stakeholders will have the opportunity to discuss the Expert Group report at the grid technology policy event “Better Grids for Clean Energy” hosted in Brussels by T&D Europe and Europacable.

(text in pdf available here)