Europe will only achieve a reliable, sustainable and connected Energy Union through co-ordinated research and development for energy infrastructure at EU level.
That was one of the key messages that came out of a conference in Brussels this week organised by EDSO (European Distribution System Operators for Smart Grids) and ENTSO-E (European Network of Transmission System Operators). It addressed the role of innovation in preparing Europe’s energy infrastructure for the future.
Speakers at the InnoGrid2020+ conference stressed that “to invest in R&D for grids is to invest in Europe’s economies”.
ENTSO-E President Nick Winser, who is executive director at National Grid in the UK, said that “Europe’s energy transition is built upon innovation”.
“The power system of tomorrow is one of flexibility, of the co-existence of centralised and decentralised. Smart solutions will need to be found, and regulatory incentives as we have seen them in the UK with RIIO are decisive”, concluded Nick Winser.
EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, opened the conference, saying: “We know smart grids work – we have seen that they can reduce the infrastructure capacity needed to meet demand by up to 30 per cent.
But he added that “there are a number of hurdles which can hamper progress. These can be regulatory, technological, financial, or organisational.”
He said that Europe’s “world-leading innovators are our most valuable resource” and they needed support to “develop new solutions on the interconnectors, storage solutions, smart grids and smart meters that can make the difference”.