Distribution: Backbone of the Energy Union

Energy union press release imageBrussels, February 25 2015 – European Distribution System Operators for Smart Grids (EDSO), the European association of leading electricity distributors committed to bringing smart grids, smart cities and intelligent power demand management from vision to reality, welcomes the well rounded Energy Union package delivered today by the European Commission (EC), aimed at ensuring a “resilient Energy Union with an ambitious climate policy at its core is to give EU consumers – households and businesses – secure, sustainable, competitive and affordable energy.”.

Distribution will be the backbone of the Energy Union, and as such, EDSO fully supports the EC in its message that the EU energy and climate policy goals to 2020 and 2030 will not be achievable without a fully interconnected European electricity grid, storage potential and smart grids to manage demand and ensure a secure energy supply in a system with higher shares of variable renewable energy. DSOs are reassured to see acknowledged the central role smart grids will play in facilitating the functioning of the market and the overall improvement of service to citizens and consumers.

The statement that the EC will “continue to push for standardisation and to support the national roll-out of smart meters [where appropriate] and to promote the further development of smart appliances and smart grids, so that flexible energy use is rewarded” reflects the commitment of our leading European DSOs. How this flexibility will be offered and procured is one of the most important hurdles to overcome in the coming years. Particularly in this respect, EDSO strongly agrees with the EC’s intention to first ensure the implementation of existing energy legislation.

A challenge for further development and cooperation in the deployment of smart grids in Europe is recognised in the EC’s claim that to “integrate renewable production progressively and efficiently into a market that promotes competitive renewables and drives innovation, energy markets and grids have to be fit for renewables. Existing legislation and new market rules need to be fully implemented, enabling the roll-out of new technologies smart grids and demand response for an efficient energy transition”.  EDSO agrees that significant to this will be the development of “synergies between the Energy Union and the Digital Single Market agenda” as well as taking “measures to ensure privacy protection and cyber-security”.

Integral to achieving this ambitious but necessary vision, is coordinated research and development (R&D). EDSO appreciates the recognition by the EC of the importance R&D will play in “putting the EU at the forefront of smart grid and smart home technology” which is “central to the aim of turning the Energy Union into a motor for growth, jobs and competitiveness”.

EDSO represents the commitment of Europe’s leading power distributers to work with the EC, regulatory bodies, national governments, transmission system operators and the wider stakeholder community, to help arrive at appropriate and robust frameworks to keep the lights on while overall costs are kept in check for our households, businesses and industry, and to bring our consumers into the centre of an energy system that serves their interests.