1. Eurelectric attended the European Utility Week held last week in Barcelona. Discussions mainly revolved around the new market model, on which the European Commission has been working lately. This emerging framework has put forward the role of DSOs, which is why it has been at the core of the discussions.
One of the four themes of the Utility Week program was data management and ICT in a intelligent grid and sustainable and smart city landscape. Special emphasis was also placed on the ways to encourage users/end consumers to become more engaged in the new emerging energy system, but also on the need of DSOs to change the business model and internal processes and invest in innovation in order for them to be able to deal with the changed landscape.
Eurelectric's view on data management has been largely acknowledged. Data management is about DSOs' need to be able to access network and metering data in order to carry out their work as well as provision of general guidance at EU level as opposed to specific rules, as there is no single model that could be implemented under whatever circumstances.
Several discussions dealt with the distribution network charging policy, where capacity-based network tariffs policy has been largely supported, as it better represents the network cost structure and allows for a more effective recovery.
A new concept presented at the EUW was that of “blockchain”, a platform where third parties can create applications.
A final topic on the agenda was energy storage, which will be also present in Commission's opinions incorporated in the Winter Package (to be released by the end of this month) (Α1).
2. EURELECTRIC statement the Energy Efficiency legislation review:
The upcoming energy efficiency reviews are set to play an important role in bringing Europe closer to its energy and climate goals. EURELECTRIC notes the Commission’s likely intention to propose a binding
EU-wide target of 30% for Energy Efficiency in 2030. However, it points out that an increase beyond the 27% 2014 target, namely, 30%, must be supported by an impact assessment that would justify the benefits of such review.
Eurelectric is also concerned about the interactions between energy efficiency and other energy and climate related targets, the main one being the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, which is underpinned by EU Emissions Trading Scheme – EU ETS and which Eurelectric sees as the cornerstone of the overall EU energy policy.
In parallel to the decarbonisation of the power sector, Eurelectric considers that switching over to electricification is terms of transport, heating and cooling is of utmost importance.
As regards the implementation of the reviewed target, Eurelectric recommends the adoption of an indicative 2030 energy efficiency target that would provide Member States with sufficient flexibility, given that the energy saving costs may differ among countries.
A final point of central importance for EURELECTRIC is the review of the Primary Energy Factor (PEF), which will continue to play a decisive role in whether Europe’s fuel of choice will be fossil fuel-based or carbon-neutral (e.g. RES, nuclear energy, etc.), a decision that is thought to be directly linked with energy sufficiency in Europe(A4).
3. In a recently released study entitled "The changing world of the DSO in a Smart Energy System Environment", the Centre on Regulation in Europe – CERRE explains how the changing energy landscape is changing the role of DSOs.
In anticipation of the Winter Package, CERRE organised an Executive Seminar. Participants included academics, regulatory authorities representatives and policy makers, who presented their vision of the new role of the DSOs. One of the views presented was that to achieve EU energy target would require a transition from the centrally coordinated energy system to what we would call a "smart sustainable energy system", namely a system that would consolidate both the ever-increasing distributed generation and the big RES producers. CERRE's recommendations on DSO operation in this new environment involved the latter to be able to make decisions on the each time appropriate policy in terms of flexibility services but also in network tariffs. The latter was at the core of a debate, specifically referencing the need for transparency and comparability in terms of the methodologies applied to determine tariffs as well as new and flexible approaches that have emerged in the light of the increasing penetration of distributed generation. As a final note, it was stressed that the regulatory framework should encourage DSOs to embrace innovation in order for them to better adopt developments in technology (Α5).