Ahead of the discussions on the EU 2030 climate and energy framework at the European Council on 20-21 March, there is increasing focus on the role of electricity interconnections and smart grids in facilitating decarbonisation and helping to limit energy costs.
E3G joined a group of 16 leading European companies, industry associations and advocacy groups in a joint statement calling for Europe’s interconnection targets to be updated as part of the package to reflect the changing nature of the energy system out to 2030. The current interconnection target – for member states to reach interconnection capacity equivalent to 10% of their production capacity – was set in 2002. This was set at a time when variable renewables made up a small proportion of overall electricity generation, before the implementation of the European internal energy market legislative packages, and before the availability of advanced grid technologies.
The CEOs of member companies of Friends of the Supergrid, which includes major grid and technology companies – agreed a statement arguing:
Clear goals for interconnection and the delivery of an internal electricity market must be the priority of the next EU Institutions. We need a network not a patchwork.
Meanwhile, the Renewables Grid Initiative launched a declaration pointing out that “infrastructure development is a prerequisite for the efficient and cost-effective uptake of renewable energy, a future EU framework with a fast growing renewable electricity share needs to facilitate the related grid evolution and system requirements”. The statement calls for an ambitious and coherent set of binding targets for 2030 for (i) greenhouse gas emissions reductions, (ii) energy efficiency and (iii) renewable energy. The related needs for grid development and system security must be carefully considered when designing supporting mechanisms and policies.
Meanwhile, Business Europe’s position paper on the EU 2030 framework argued that “the development of needed infrastructures to achieve effective markets integration should be an absolute priority”. Eurelectric’s ‘Manifesto for a balanced, more efficient European energy policy’ argues that “Europe’s electricity networks … are the backbone of the electricity system, playing a vital role in delivering electricity to customers. Enabling framework conditions and adequate infrastructures must therefore be put in place as a matter of priority to guarantee Europe’s supply security”
The full statement is attached.