What architecture for the EU's future electricity infrastructure?


Since April 2016, CEPS has been a partner in a highly innovative project co- funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme called SET-Nav – Navigating the Roadmap for Clean, Secure and Efficient Energy Innovation. The project aims to support strategic decision-making in Europe's energy sector, enhancing innovation towards a clean, secure and efficient energy system. Following the release of the Clean Energy for All Europeans package in December 2016, designed to increase efficiency, boost renewables and create a fair deal for consumers, the SET-Nav project organised a workshop on March 24th to discuss preliminary project results of relevance to the package. This event brought together academics, representatives from EU institutions, industry and NGOs to discuss the EU’s future electricity infrastructure needs. The first session provided an overview of the project, which has recently entered a phase devoted to elaborating case studies, as well as a keynote speech presented by Remy Denos of DG Energy at the European Commission. Mr Denos declared that we need to make the transition to a 30% share of variable renewable production by 2030, which will require activating many flexibility measures with two key enablers: an operating network and a well-functioning market.

In the second session, results from the project on the impacts of decentralised and centralised development on transmission grids were presented and comments were provided by key stakeholders from ENTSO-E, National grid, CEER and the European Commission. In the scenarios modelled, the decentralised design used more rooftop PV while the centralised option focused on offshore wind capacity. Highlights from the results show that expected renewable generation will pose a challenge to system operation and that transmission grid investment is higher in the centralised case, but that the decentralised option has higher system costs. Many panellists agreed that actually rather than centralised “versus” decentralised development of the electricity sector, both types of generation are necessary to achieve EU objectives. Another topic discussed was the huge challenge of obtaining public acceptance regarding both renewables and transmission grids and it was suggested that a clear message needs to be delivered to citizens that energy supply is no free lunch. The event concluded with the recommendation that modelling of energy systems is indeed very useful to stimulate debate, but that energy markets should also be the subject of modelling and flexibility needs included flexibility.