European Commission presented today the much-anticipated Grid Action Plan, including 14 tailored actions

Brussels, 28 November 2023

In the context of the 4th PCI ENERGY DAYS, the European Commission presented today the much-anticipated Grid Action Plan, including 14 tailored actions “to make Europe’s electricity grids stronger, more interconnected, more digitalised and cyber-resilient.”

Christian Buchel, president of E.DSO, stated that “Although the Grid Action Plan is a good step ahead on the recognition of the grid, it overlooks the investments and industrial vision of DSOs. The Commission shall trust the innovation of the DSO industry and refrain from over-regulation.

E.DSO has been advocating for policy-makers to adequately recognise the role of DSOs in a changing energy ecosystem. These recommendations have been incorporated in the Grid Action Plan and are expected to feed into the upcoming MFF, stressing the inherent incompatibility of existing fundings opportunities to support DSOs in taking on their new role as facilitators of the energy transition:

Our main recommendations focused on:

  1. The launch of a “The Decentralised Grid Facility” – a purpose-built programme to bolster decentralised energy infrastructure, with a specific emphasis on enhancing electricity grids. By creating this specialised initiative, we can ensure that the unique needs of decentralised energy projects are adequately addressed.
  2. Increase Clarity in Funding Prospects and provide explicit guidelines to Member States when unveiling new funding opportunities, such as REPowerEU. It is imperative that such guidelines encompass the entire energy value chain, with a particular focus on electricity grids. In this vein and in anticipation of the upcoming revision of the Common Provisions Regulation (CPR), we stress the need for this revision to specifically considers the needs of electricity grids to ensure alignment with the objectives of the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).
  3. Ensure fair treatment for Regulated Businesses (DSOs) to access grants, as currently the scenario in some Member States results in financial losses for companies seeking grant acquisitions. To rectify this, we need clearer provisions and guidelines guaranteeing that regulated businesses can genuinely benefit from grant opportunities.

Against this background, we are glad to see reflections of some of our proposals in the Commission proposal as presented today, in particularly concerning:

Action 4 and the introduction of guiding principles to identify conditions under which anticipatory investments in grid projects should be granted.

Action 6 and the emphasize on harmonised definitions for available grid hosting capacity for system operators and the establishment of a pan-EU overview.

Action 10 and the aim to increase visibility on opportunities from EU funding programmes for smart grids and modernisation of distribution grids through targeted guidance by the Commission to Member States.

Action 13 and the establishment of standardised technology specifications and improved visibility of grid project pipelines, to facilitate investments in manufacturing capacity and supply chains.

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